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Full text of "Some fish and some fishing"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

PRESENTED BY 
/^ PROF. CHARLES A . KOFOID AND 
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 




TARPON, 187 POUNDS 
St. Lucie River, Florida, January 23 



SOME FISH 



AND 



SOME FISHING 



BY 

FRANK GRAY GRISWOLD 



I 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 
FROM PHOTOGRAPHS 



NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY 

LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD, LTD. 

MCMXXI 



COPYRIGHT . 1921 . BY 
JOHN LANE COMPANY 



THERE IS A PLEASING RHYME WHICH TELLS OP AN 
ANGLER, AT THE END OF AN EVENTFUL DAY WHO: 

"TOOK WITH HIGH ERECTED COMB 
THE FISH, OR ELSE THE STORY HOME 



TONTFNTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. SEA FISHING 15 

II. TARPON FISHING 23 

III. TUNA FISHING 37 

IV. SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 51 

V. PARD 71 

VI. THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 77 

VII. FISHING WITH KITE AND SLED 95 

VIII. THE BOATMEN OF AVALON 103 

IX. THE LADY AND THE TUNA 113 

X. THE BIG MARLIN AT GALLAGHER'S 121 

XI. THE GIANT BASS 127 

XII. THE SAILFISH 133 

XIII. THE BONEFISH 141 

XIV. THE STRIPED BASS IN THE PACIFIC 149 

XV. THE AMERICAN SHAD 159 

XVI. THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH 169 

XVII. SANTA CATALINA ISLAND 181 

XVIII. THE FISHES OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA... 191 

XIX. THE SEA FISH OF CALIFORNIA 199 

XX. OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 205 

XXI. THE PACIFIC SALMON 225 

XXII. SALMON FISHING AT CAMPBELL RIVER. . 231 

XXIII. THE KETCH KONA 2*39 

XXIV. THE GULF STREAM 247 

[7] 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Tarpon, 187 pounds Frontispiece 

Tarpon taken in the Rio Negro, Cuba.Facing page 28 

Tuna, 156% pounds 40 

A Tuna net, Sicily 44 

Tuna nets, Sicily 44 

Hauling the nets, Sicily 46 

Gaffing the fish, Sicily 46 

Mr. John V. Eliot and Swordfish 54 

Mr. J. S. Douglas' Swordfish 66 

The Camp at San Clemente 78 

Marlin when first hooked 82 

The end of a jump 82 

One hundred yards on end of tail 86 

Three and one half hours' fishing at San Clemente 90 

Fishing with a kite 96 

Fishing with a sled 98 

Santa Catalina fishing launch 104 

Spearfish or Marlin 108 

The Lady and the Tuna 116 

Jewfish, 450 pounds 126 

Record Giant Bass 128 

Sailfish 134 

Bonefish 142 

[9] 



ILLUSTRATION S 

Mr. James R. Steers and Striped Bass 154 

Tuna Club House 182 

Record Swordfish 182 

Spearfish or Marlin, 179 and 132 pounds 184 

Map of Grand Cascapedia River 206 

Duthies Pool 210 

Joe Martin Pool ! 214 

Indian Falls Rapids 218 

Charlie Valley 220 

Salmon, total weight 212 pounds 234 

Tyee Salmon, 60 pounds 234 

Kona 240 

Kona from aloft.. . 242 



[10] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 



I 

SEA FISHING 

WHEN I VISIT NEW WATERS, AND FIND THE FISHING 
POOR AND AM INFORMED THAT IT IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT 
USED TO BE, I AM REMINDED OF THE IRISHMAN WHO 

SAID TO HIS PAL: "PAT, IRELAND is NOT THE COUNTRY 
IT USED TO WAS." 
"BEGORRA, NO," REPLIED PAT ; "AND SHE NIVER WAS." 



I 

SEA FISHING 

KNOWING that the period of a man's 
hard-riding days is limited, I prepared for 
the inevitable some years since by making 
a pastime of sea-fishing. I have fished 
for most fish that swim in the American 
waters, both in the Atlantic and in the 
Pacific. The fish that interests me the 
most is the tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) . 
I have fished for the tarpon in Florida 
waters every month in the year excepting 
in midsummer, all along the Gulf of Mexico 
as far as Aransas Pass, and in the Panuco 
River at Tampico, Mexico. I have also 
fished around the coast of Cuba and the 
Isle of Pines. 

The tarpon is a most interesting fish to 
study. Although a bottom-feeder, he is 
often seen rolling along on the surface of 
[15] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

the water very much as a porpoise swims. 
He is not afraid of man or boat, and even 
the small fish in the rivers will not increase 
their speed as you pass them by. In the 
rivers, when not in motion, they will lie 
on the bottom, coming to the surface 
from time to time for a mouthful of air 
and then retiring to their resting-place, 
after which the air-bubbles will rise to the 
surface for some time. It is this action 
that makes the natives insist that these 
fish have lungs and use them for breathing. 
Then, again, they will lie on the bottom 
for hours, as other fish do, with very little 
or no motion of the fins. I once caught 
a very small baby tarpon in a gill-net, 
and kept him alive in a tub for hours. He 
did not act as other fish do in like circum- 
stances, but allowed me to stroke him gently 
without attempting to move. From time 
to time he would rise to the surface, as the 
large fish do in the rivers, then go to the 
bottom of the tub again, and in a moment 
[16] 



SEA FISHING 

the bubbles would slowly issue from his 
mouth. He kept this up all day. Tarpon 
feed on small school-fish and on mul- 
let, yet their long underjaw denotes that 
they are bottom-feeders. They have no 
teeth, and the hard mouth, with which 
they crush their food before swallowing it, 
is a further proof that they enjoy a diet of 
crab and the like. 

According to Hallock, the River Crow 
Indians have the following legend: 

"Many creations ago, when the salt water 
covered the surface of the plains and the 
Rocky Mountain Range formed the shore- 
line of the primitive continent long before 
any land animals existed except reptiles 
the Great Spirit had constituted the tarpon- 
fish the great Silver King, and appointed 
him to be the guardian of the undiscovered 
vast ore-beds of silver which fill the moun- 
tain crags. He clothed him with silver 
armor-plates and made him ruler over all 
the anadromous fishes which came up out 

[17] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

of the salt-water estuaries into the fresh- 
water limpid streams to spawn. Once in 
every century the Silver King was per- 
mitted to bathe in an electro-thermal medi- 
cine spring of liquid silver, and thus pre- 
served and renewed the brightness of his 
armor. The silver springs flowed from the 
hidden ore-beds of the inner mountains. 
Finally the growth of the continent south- 
ward drove the ocean before it and thus the 
tarpon the Silver King was forced 
gradually into the Gulf of Mexico, where he 
now chiefly inhabits 

"He has gone from his former haunts 
just like the buffalo which once covered the 
prairies, and the great silver mines, being 
thus left unprotected and exposed, soon 
became revealed to the knowledge and 
cupidity of men who are now swarming 
more than ever into the country, bringing 
their picks and crushers and driving off the 
game. But the Great Spirit took pity on the 
Silver King because he was thus deprived 

[18] 



SEA FISHING 

of his ward and heritage and because he 
could no more renew his armor by bathing 
in the silver spring; and so he made him 
the everlasting coat of silver mail, which 
never fades nor wears off, either in the water 
or out of it. It will neither dim nor tarnish. 
Any Indian brave who wears the scales of 
the tarpon on his person will possess a medi- 
cine which will ever be to him a talisman 
of good fortune, both in this world and the 
spirit land to come. Plenty will surround 
him long after the buffalo have ceased to 



run.' 



The first tarpon was taken by rod and 
reel by William H. Wood of New York on 
April 18, 1885, bottom-fishing, and it was 
not until the invention of the Van Vleck 
tarpon trolling-hook that the method of 
fishing for them in this manner became a 
success; for before that, out of ten fish you 
would "hang" you might with luck save one. 
I say invention of Van Vleck hook, yet the 
very same shape of hook can be seen in the 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Naples Museum, found in Pompeii (which 
was destroyed A.D. 79) and was probably 
used for trolling for tuna. 



[20] 



II 

TARPON FISHING 



II 

TARPON FISHING 

IT does not seem to be generally known 
that tarpon frequent the rivers of Cuba, 
though they are to be found at all seasons 
of the year in a few of the rivers. I say a 
few of the rivers, for, having searched for 
them in about twenty, I have found them 
in only five in the "Zara" on the north 
coast, in the Jatibonico, Rio Negro, and 
Damuji on the south coast, and in the Los 
Angeles River on the Isle of Pines. Most 
of the rivers in Cuba are fed from swamps, 
and their waters are dark and in a muddy 
condition, which does not seem to appeal 
to the tarpon. The rivers I speak of are 
fairly clear, and the Rio Negro is as clear 
as crystal. The fish trade up and down the 
rivers on the tide, and are very certain to 
leave for the open sea just before a northerly 
storm. You find them in schools of twenty 

[23] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

or more fish of an average weight. The 
small fish seem to remain for several years 
in brackish water before going to sea. There 
are numbers weighing from three to five 
pounds, and beautiful little fish they are to 
look at and delightful to take on light tackle. 

To fish in Cuba you must have a vessel 
adapted to the waters. She must have 
power as well as sail and must not draw 
more than four feet. The rivers are deep, 
except over the bars at the mouth, where 
they are very shoal. The tarpon do not seem 
to go above the tide into fresh water. The' 
limit of the mangrove growth, which does 
not grow along fresh water, is the limit of 
the fish. The rivers are lined with mangrove 
trees and royal palms, and the current is 
never rapid, so that the waters are ideal for 
fishing. The fish will average about one 
hundred pounds, but now and then you will 
meet a school of giants. 

I have cruised from Nuevitas Bay on the 
north coast around the western end, of the 
[24] 



TARPON FISHING 

island to Cienfuegos on the south and have 
tried most of the rivers that looked prom- 
ising for sport. I have always fished there 
in the month of February, and have never 
failed to find tarpon. In four winters, dur- 
ing a few days' fishing each season, I have 
played almost two hundred tarpon. I say 
"played," as I never kill a tarpon unless 
he is hooked in such a manner that he can- 
not be set free. I believe that it takes many 
years for them to grow to maturity, and it 
seems wicked to destroy such game fish. 
The natives in Cuba are glad to have them, 
as they eat them fresh and salted. 

The fishing in Cuba in winter is charm- 
ing, the climate being perfect, with no flies 
or insects of any kind; but the trip there 
and back for a small vessel is not easily to 
be forgotten. With a northerly wind and 
it always seems to blow from that quarter 
the Gulf Stream is the roughest bit of water 
that I have ever navigated, and the run 
across from Justias Key to Key West is a 
[25] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

nightmare. There are other fish, such as 
snapper, jackfish, grouper, kingfish, Spanish 
mackerel, and barracouta, to be found off 
the coast and in the rivers, and I have seen 
bonefish for sale in the market. Sharks of 
many varieties and of the largest kind 
abound. 

Winter fishing for tarpon is river fishing, 
and, in my opinion, is the most interest- 
ing and sportsmanlike manner of fishing for 
the grandest of sea-fish. 

Some ten years ago I was cruising in the 
Indian River, Florida, in a house-boat, and 
found the St. Lucie River full of tarpon. 
The good people who live in the neighbor- 
hood of Sewall's Point had cut the beach 
opposite where the St. Lucie empties into 
the Indian River, for the purpose of deepen- 
ing the latter and providing a port that would 
help them to develop that part of Florida. 
It did not have quite the desired effect, for 
Gilbert's Bar at the mouth of the inlet is 
not a pleasant harbor to make, and the 

[26] 



TARPON FISHING 

Indian River now has less water at that point 
than it had before. By letting in the salt 
water, they changed the character of the 
lovely St. Lucie River; for the brackish 
water killed all the vines that hung in gar- 
lands from the trees. It also changed the 
character of the fish to be found there. 
Mullet in great schools came into the river 
on the flood-tides, and were to be found ten 
miles up the North Branch, and tarpon fol- 
lowed the mullet in large numbers. I saw 
more tarpon that winter, and larger ones, 
than I have seen in the ten years since. It 
was that winter that I acquired the taste for 
river fishing. 

The tarpon that come to the rivers, 
bayous, and inlets of our coast in April and 
May in great numbers leave in the autumn, 
supposedly for the warmer waters of the 
Gulf Stream; but some fish remain in the 
deep rivers of the east coast of Florida all 
winter. They do not show on cold days; 
but if the water is sixty-eight degrees, or 
[27] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

warmer, you can see them, and can fish for 
them with some hope of success. 

It gives me more satisfaction to kill one 
tarpon in January than ten in the month 
of May, when they are plentiful. I troll 
from a rowboat with a live silver mullet 
hooked through the head. If the hook is 
properly placed and the mullet gently 
handled, it will live for hours. I have fished 
in this manner for several winters, killing 
a number of fish. The largest two were 187 
pounds, caught on Jan. 26, and 165 pounds, 
on Feb. 23. 

The moment the fish strikes and feels the 
hook, he jumps first to one side of the river 
and then to the other, for the rivers are not 
wide, and then comes straight toward your 
boat, fighting all the time. It is then that 
you generally lose him, for he will jump 
half out of the water beside the boat when 
your line is straight up and down. It must 
be a well-hooked fish that does not then 
shake the hook free. 

[28] 




TARPON TAKEN IN THE RIO NEGRO, CUBA 
Weight, 130 pounds 



TARPON FISHING 

One winter I sailed from Key West for 
Cuban waters and cruised along the northern 
coast of Cuba, looking for tarpon. I found 
a lovely river, called the Zaraguanacan, a 
tiny river for such a long name, but full of 
tarpon of all sizes. In places it is very nar- 
row, and its shores are thickly covered with 
mangroves. The water is deep, and the fish 
work up and down the river on the tide. 
While there I jumped fifty-two tarpon, and 
saved only nine. I was not sorry to lose any 
of the fish that I had played, for they are so 
game that it is always painful to gaff them. 
In this case it was most amusing to lose 
them, for the third jump would generally 
land them high up in the overhanging 
branches of the mangroves, through which 
they would crash into the deep waters below, 
leaving my tackle entangled in the bushes. 

The result of river fishing does not mean 

a large bag. It is quick work, for you must 

not give the fish any slack, a difficult thing 

to avoid, as you have no tide in your favor, 

[29] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

as in pass fishing, to keep your line taut. 
The gentle current of the Southern rivers 
is of little assistance, even if you are for- 
tunate enough to jump your fish when 
trolling against it. The rivers are deep, and 
the waters are dyed by the cypress roots 
and fringed with white lilies. The banks 
are lined with cabbage-palms and deciduous 
trees, which in January are just budding, 
spring then beginning along these lovely 
rivers so little known to tourists in Florida. 

I do most of my fishing with the assist- 
ance of a launch. With the advent of the 
automobile, a new way of seeing the world 
was discovered for the tourist, and years of 
keen pleasure offered to those who love 
travel. The coming of the motor-boat has 
done the same for fishing. 

I remember being surprised some years 
ago at Captiva Pass by the complaints made 
about one fisherman, because, cruising 
about in a launch near where we were fish- 
ing, he frightened the fish with his propeller, 
[30] 



TARPON FISHING 

and so drove them out to sea. I did not 
believe it at the time, and I have since had 
many opportunities to prove that, on the 
contrary, the disturbance work up the fish 
and encourage them to take notice and 
strike. There is a pool in New River which 
motor-boats pass through a hundred times 
a day, and the tarpon remain there all the 
time if the water is not too sweet; in this 
case they go to sea, and return when the 
rain-water has run out. At Catalina. Calif., 
you almost always fish in launches. You 
can cover much more space, your bait trolls 
more steadily, and you have not the feeling 
that the man at the oars is rowing his heart 
out. 

The best boat is a large rowboat with one 
and one-half horse-power gasolene-spark 
engine. The boat must be light, for your 
boatman must have his oars ready to assist 
you in playing your fish when it is hooked. 
You need but little power, for you should 
not travel faster than a man can row, and 

[31] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

most one-cylinder engines do not slow down 
graciously. 

I have fished in this manner for the last 
few years, believing the old way of trolling 
to be quite out of date. In a few seasons' 
fishing I have taken tuna, tarpon, hundreds 
of kingfish, grouper, barracouta, mutton- 
fish, cavalli, pompojacks, ladyfish, bonito, 
bluefish, and Spanish mackerel. 

In tarpon-fishing I usually am towed in 
a rowboat, for the reason that my launch 
travels more slowly with the weight astern. 
The boatman casts off when I tell him to, 
and the launch goes on out of the way. I 
have done this with good success not only 
in rivers, but also in the open sea and along 
tide-rifts in the passes. 

This method of fishing has, however, one 
great drawback: if you are trolling with a 
live mullet, it soon dies, and revolves like 
a pinwheel. Most cut baits will do the same, 
as spinners will also; and no number of 
swivels or "anti-kinkers" will prevent your 

[32] 



TARPON FISHING 

line from being ruined in short order. This 
gave me much trouble for some time, but I 
heard of a new improved fishing-gear, or 
"skittering device," patented by Albert W. 
Wilson of San Francisco, for striped-bass 
fishing, which is in general use on the Pacific 
coast for that purpose. This spoon I con- 
sider the most wonderful fishing invention 
of modern times. It "swims" erratically, 
swerves from side to side, and yet never re- 
volves, so that your line does not kink in 
the least. In addition to this, it attracts all 
kinds of sea-fish. Tarpon, kingfish, grouper, 
and even sharks seem to take to it most 
kindly. 

These spoons are made in different sizes 
and are very nicely balanced, as they must 
be, or they would trail along on the sur- 
face of the water. The steady movement of 
a motor-boat just suits them. 

The curse of sea-fishing is the difficulty 
of getting fresh bait. I have been for days 
in Florida or off the Cuban coast with no 
[331 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

bait to be had. But that time has gone by, 
thanks to the "Skittering Wilson," and 
motor-boat fishing has been made possible. 



[34] 



Ill 

TUNA FISHING 



Ill 

TUNA FISHING 

THERE has been so much written about 
tuna fishing at Catalina Island, Calif., that 
I do not purpose to describe again how it is 
done. Many of the accounts I have read 
are very picturesque, but for the most part 
so exaggerated that many people are 
frightened from trying to kill a tuna, and 
those who do try are so unnerved that they 
either fail or take hours instead of minutes 
to accomplish the task. A task it is, for the 
tuna is the strongest fish that one can fight 
with a rod. 

My first visit to Catalina, some twenty 
years since, was crowned with success, as the 
fish were very plentiful. My second visit 
was in 1910, and the fish were very scarce. 
I landed one fish, the only one taken during 
my ten days' visit. There were ten hooked 

[37] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

fish reported, but they were lost, one of 
them after seventeen hours of struggle. 

They tell me that there is a difference 
in tuna; that some are much stronger than 
others, which I do not doubt. My only ex- 
perience has been with fourteen landed at 
Catalina and one lost at St. Ann's Bay, Cape 
Breton Island. The latter I lost after thirty 
minutes, and was greatly relieved; for he 
looked to be over eight hundred pounds in 
weight, and was too strong for me and my 
tackle. From my experience at Catalina, I 
believe that any tuna up to two hundred 
pounds in weight should be landed in thirty 
minutes; but the tackle must be strong and 
sound, so that it causes you no thought, and 
you must have "hands." The fascination of 
heavy fishing is the give and take between 
man and fish, the knowledge of what your 
tackle will stand, and the power that it gives 
you to convince the fish of the fact that you 
are his master. This is done by "hands," 
just as riding a horse properly depends upon 

[38] 



TUNA FISHING 

"hands." No man can ride well who has 
not "hands," and so it is with strong fish- 
ing. Brakes on reels do not help you, or 
they help you too much. They make you 
too strong, and your tackle suffers. Fish 
are no longer killed; they are murdered. 
It requires but little skill to fish with a reel 
brake, and it is the cause of the loss of most 
of the tuna hooked at Catalina. 

My advice to a novice who wishes to land 
a tuna is: fish with a stiff rod and a sound 
line, keep your rod up, your left thumb on 
the reel, and do not let up on the fish. Do 
not use the brake when trolling. When the 
fish strikes, put all the strain on your tackle 
that it will stand, and stop your fish with 
thumb-pressure and the bend of the rod only. 
The farther the fish runs, the more quickly 
you will kill him, as it is very exhausting 
to a fish to travel fast under such a strain. 
If the drag is on, he will stop sooner; but 
being still fresh, he will try other methods 
which are more exhausting to you than to 

[39] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

him. At the end of his first run is the 
moment to fight him to a finish. If he gets 
his second wind, he will be stronger than 
you. In this manner I killed a tuna on my 
last trip weighing 156% pounds in twelve 
minutes. 

It is not easy to compare the two kinds 
of fishing, or to say which fish is more game, 
the tarpon or the tuna, for they act very 
differently. It is safe to say that they are 
imbued with quite different ideas when first 
hooked. The tarpon has no fear of boat or 
fisherman; his only idea is to shake the hook 
loose, and to do this he jumps out of the 
water, and will do so several times if you 
fight him hard. The harder you fight him, 
the more he jumps and the quicker he comes 
to gaff. I have never had a tarpon take more 
than 250 feet of line, and that in a tideway. 
I have heard of fish that have taken more, 
but am only telling of my own experience. 
The tuna, on the contrary, is off in a wild 
rush the moment he feels the hook, and I 
[40] 




TUNA, 156V 2 POUNDS 
Time, 12 minutes 



TUNA FISHING 

have had 650 feet of line taken from me 
before I could stop my fish. He then dwells, 
perhaps sounds, then runs again, perhaps 
twice, then sounds as a rule. From that 
time on it is a question of "pumping" your 
fish up to the boat, if you wish to kill the 
fish and not to allow him to commit suicide 
by towing you about. With proper tackle, 
either fish should be killed and gaffed within 
thirty minutes, barring accidents. If you 
are fortunate enough to hook your tuna in 
the upper jaw and hold him hard during 
his first run, he comes to the surface virtually 
drowned, and if you are quick, it takes only 
a few minutes to bring him to gaff. 

The method of fishing for tuna is to troll 
from a power-launch or from a rowboat 
astern of such a launch, with a flying-fish 
for bait. The tuna follows the bait, strikes 
at the head, and turns as he strikes, so that 
he is generally hooked in the corner of the 
mouth, and makes his run with his mouth 
closed. To kill him in such cases you must 
[41] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

tire him out. The water is very deep off 
Catalina hundreds of feet deep. When 
your fish sounds, if you wait a few moments, 
he will discover that the pressure of the 
water is more comfortable nearer the sur- 
face. The great depth of water is an 
advantage as well as a discomfort to the 
fish. 

I proved to my own satisfaction years since 
that every tarpon should be brought to gaff 
within thirty minutes, and went to Catalina 
Island to see if the same could be done with 
the tuna, with the following result: 

June 5 : tuna, 150 pounds, 2 hours, 20 minutes. 

June 6: tuna, 130 pounds, 1 hour, 17 minutes. 

June 8: tuna, 102 pounds, 19 minutes. 

June 9: tuna, 123 pounds, 19 minutes; tuna, 104 
pounds, 45 minutes. 

June 10: tuna, 118 pounds, 27 minutes; tuna, 88 
pounds, 20 minutes; tuna, 100 pounds, 17 minutes. 

June 11: tuna, 99 pounds, 15 minutes; tuna, 103 
pounds, 14 minutes; tuna, 62 pounds, 8 minutes; tuna, 
109 pounds, 9 minutes; tuna, 118 pounds, 20 minutes. 

Total: thirteen fish, 1411 pounds. 

I fought my first fish with a rod that had 
[42] 



TUNA FISHING 

a flaw in it, and the reel was spread by the 
second fish, yet I averaged about thirty 
minutes on the thirteen, and five of them 
I killed in one day in six hours' fishing. I 
used a stout rod, a Vom Hofe Star reel, 
holding eight hundred feet of No. 22 Hall 
line, and Van Vleck tarpon trolling-hook 
with swivel and piano-wire snood. 

The leaping tuna do not jump after being 
hooked, but do when chasing schools of 
flying-fish, hence the epithet. 

Now, to answer the question, Which is 
the more game, the fish that stands and 
fights, the tarpon ; or the tuna, the fish that 
runs away, then holds on and fights to the 
last moment? I say the tarpon. Yet there is 
no sea-fishing sensation equal to the first 
grand run of a hooked tuna, and he is a 
harder fish to kill than the tarpon. 

I took my fishing-tackle with me to Sicily 

one April, looking for sport with tuna (the 

famous tunny-fish of the ancients), but 

found I was too early, as the fish do not 

[43] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

appear in those waters until the early 
summer. 

Permanent tuna fisheries and fish fac- 
tories exist at Syracuse and Palermo and at 
other places along the coast. In setting the 
nets, advantage is taken of a strange fact. 
The fish are known to travel in certain direc- 
tions along the coast, and when they meet 
with an obstruction, they always turn to the 
left. I was told that the fishermen in Italy, 
therefore, believe that the fish see only out 
of the right eye. A strong, deep net is 
anchored offshore and secured to kedges. 
It is a trap-net, open toward the sea, and 
the inner chamber has a strong floor. At 
Palermo there is a stone tower on shore 
from which a watchman watches the nets 
and announces with a bell the arrival of a 
school of tuna. When the fish are inter- 
cepted by the nets, they keep turning to the 
left, until they arrive in the camera di morte, 
or death-chamber. The watchman having 
announced the arrival of the fish, and the 
[44] 




A TUNA NET, SICILY 




TUNA NETS, SICILY 



TUNA FISHING 

fishermen, armed with strong gaffs, having 
appeared in boats, the inner gate is closed. 
After hauling in the slack of the stout net, 
the slaughter begins. I was told the fishing 
at Palermo some years would net $10,000, 
notwithstanding that the installation of the 
nets cost a like amount, and the yearly rental 
of twenty miles of shore water was $4,000. 
The fish run up to 500 pounds in weight, 
but the majority are much smaller. It is 
said that a 100-pound tuna is worth 100 
francs ($20) at the factory, which seems 
excessive, though every part of the fish has 
a commercial value. The meat is salted and 
canned, and is a staple article of food. The 
trade is protected, no tunny products being 
allowed to pass the customs into Italy. 

Along the southern and western coasts of 
Spain and the western coast of France the 
tuna are caught by fleets of small seaworthy 
vessels with strong lines rigged on outrigger 
poles. Bait is used, with large, strong 
hooks. 

[45] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

It is a strange fact that although these 
fish are found in great numbers in the warm 
waters of the Mediterranean, they are seldom 
seen along our Atlantic coast south of Cape 
Cod. They have been reported off the coast 
of New Jersey and in the waters between 
Block Island and Montauk Point. The 
horse-mackerel is still found between Cape 
Cod and Labrador, and at one time is said 
to have been often met with. The schools 
of herring, mackerel, and menhaden have 
either disappeared, or remain farther off- 
shore than in former years, and the horse- 
mackerel, being a good feeder, must follow 
the smaller fish. 

I had read that the tuna were very plenti- 
ful along the western coast of Newfound- 
land. I cruised from Port-aux-Basques to 
the beautiful Humber Sound, Bay of Islands, 
and back, in the summer of 1911, without 
seeing a single fish, nor could I obtain any 
information concerning them. I have found 
the tuna on two visits to St. Ann's Bay, Cape 
[46] 




HAULING THE NETS, SICILY 




GAFFING THE FISH, SICILY 
Camera di morte 



TUNA FISHING 

Breton Island, but found it very difficult to 
get to them; for they seem to come into the 
bay on the tide, turn, and go out to sea 
again, and rarely dwell. St. Ann's Bay is 
open to the northeast, and it is seldom that 
the sea is in such condition that it is safe to 
fish. Then, again, it is almost impossible 
to obtain bait. The waters seem bare of fish 
of any kind, which must account for the 
short visits of the tuna, for they will not 
remain where there is no food. 

Mr. J. K. L. Ross, who passes his sum- 
mers at St. Ann's Bay, is the pioneer of the 
tuna fishing there. He has had great sport 
during the last four seasons, having been 
fast to more than fifty of these giant fish 
during that time. He was unsuccessful until 
the twenty-eighth of August, 1911, when he 
succeeded in landing, after a fight lasting 
four hours and forty-five minutes, a fish 
eight feet ten inches long, with a girth of 
six feet three inches, and weighing 680 
pounds on the scales at Sydney twenty-four 
[47] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

hours later. It was a wonderful and well- 
deserved victory after all his trouble and his 
never-ending hospitality and kindness to 
visiting fishermen. 

The fish in those waters are of great size. 
I saw one near at hand which, I think, must 
have weighed at least 1,500 pounds. 



[48] 



IV 

SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

I ROAM THE SEAS TO FIGHT THE WHALE, 
WITH SWORD I THRUST, I STRIKE WITH TAIL, 
BUT WHEN I'M HOOKED I SOUND AND FIGHT 
THE LUCKLESS FISHERMAN HALF THE NIGHT. 



IV 

SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

THE swordfish (Xiphias gladius) of the 
Pacific is the same fish that is so well known 
f in the Atlantic Ocean. Several thousand of 
these fish are captured every season during 
July and August along our coast from Block 
Island to Halifax, N. S. 

The average weight of the swordfish 
shipped to the Boston market is about 360 
pounds, and there is a legend among the 
fishermen that a fish was once brought in 
that weighed 750 pounds. 

The U. S. Fisheries Commission have 
never been able to find out where these fish 
breed. No very small fish have ever been 
taken along our coast although the Com- 
mission did capture a 25 pounder on one 
occasion. It is known that the fish breed in 
the Mediterranean, but as they appear there 
[51] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

at the same season of the year that they do 
here this would hardly apply to our fish. 

These fish are found in midsummer swim- 
ming leisurely along on top of the water 
apparently sunning themselves. The boat- 
men steal upon them in power-boats. A 
fisherman is poised on the bowsprit or bow 
of the boat supported by a so-called pulpit 
of iron, and when just over the fish har- 
poons him. The steel end of the harpoon 
is driven well home and to it is attached a 
long strong rope which is coiled in a tub 
so that it will run free. To the end of the 
rope a five gallon keg painted white is fas- 
tened. This keg usually bears its owner's 
or the boat's name. 

The harpooned fish always go to wind- 
ward, and it used to be quite an undertaking 
to follow them in the days when sailpower 
had to be depended on, but the motor-boat 
has made it easy work. 

The swordfish soon tires after sounding 
deep a few times, and when the tired fish 
[52] 



SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

comes to the surface he is lanced and hauled 
on board. 

Great numbers of fish are taken in this 
manner every season. I heard of one boat 
that after a fourteen days' trip divided 
$5,000 among a crew of five fishermen. The 
swordfish bring fifteen cents a pound in the 
Boston market and are excellent eating. 

Swordfishing is not carried on as a pro- 
fession in the Pacific nor is the fish to be 
found in the market, but swordfishing with 
a rod and reel has become a sport, and an 
arduous one, for the members of the Tuna 
Club at Avalon. 

The first fish was taken in 1913, since 
which time twenty fish have been brought 
in and weighed. The heaviest qualified fish 
weighed 465 pounds and the smallest 130 
pounds. 

Regulation Tuna Club tackle is used a 
sixteen-ounce tip five feet or more long and 
1,200 feet or more of 24-thread line. The 
leader is made of strong piano wire doubled. 

[53] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Two six-foot wires are strung from the hook 
to a one-inch ring and two wires of the same 
length join this ring to another one onto 
which the line is bent. The rings are for 
the glove-handed boatman to hold on to 
when he gaffs the fish. Some fishermen use 
a chain on the hook and a swivel in place 
of the middle ring but they are not quite 
trustworthy. 

Mr. Boschen, the strongest and most skill- 
ful fisherman in the Tuna Club, has fished 
for swordfish daily from June 1st to October 
for three years. He has fought some forty 
odd fish and has landed but eight. He has 
battled with them for five, eight, and even 
eleven hours and half through the night. 
He tells me they really do not wake up until 
it grows dark. He fought one fish for eleven 
hours. The fish sounded forty-eight times 
and had to be pumped up and led the launch 
twenty-nine miles before he was lost owing 
to the steel hook having cut through the 
brass chain attached to it. 
[54] 




MR. JOHN V. ELIOT AND 
SWORDFISH 

5 hours and 7 minutes 



SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

Mr. Boschen thinks they are the greatest 
fish that swim. They certainly are the most 
difficult to kill for they have a strength and 
vitality that are beyond belief. They fight 
as a heavyweight fighter boxes, for their 
every move is deliberate and well thought 
out. The marlin fights quickly and is all 
over the place; not so the swordfish. He 
moves as a rule slowly but with great 
strength and deliberation, yet he is known 
to be the fastest swimmer of the seas. Now 
and then, it is said, a crazy fish is hooked 
and acts quite differently. 

The swordfish do not begin to fight until 
after the first or second hour when they seem 
to wake up, and a fish has been known to 
fight for an hour after he had the gaff in him 
and before he could be securely roped. Once 
you have a rope around the fish's tail he is 
safely captured but not until then. 

There were seven swordfish brought in 
during the eighteen days that I was at 
Avalon and four of them had been foul- 

[55] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

hooked. A 404 pound fish was hooked in 
the anal fin, the hook having passed from 
his mouth through his gills in some mys- 
terious manner and fastened in the anal fin. 
The wire had cut through the gills and after 
a five hours' fight the fish had bled to death 
and sank. He had to be handed up as the 
rod could not lift the weight. It took 
three men forty minutes to bring him to 
the surface tail first. His tail was then 
roped and he was towed twelve miles to 
Avalon. 

Two fish were brought in wrapped up in 
the wire leader which had caught the hook 
and held the fish as in a vise. In both cases 
the bait was still on the hook. 

The swordfish, when he sees the bait, sinks 
and the first thing he does is to hit the bait 
a hard blow with his sword. He seems to 
do this at times from pure viciousness, for 
he does not always take the bait after hitting 
it but moves off. He seems to be a poor 
batsman for he often becomes foul hooked 
[56] 



SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

by striking the wire instead of the bait; the 
wire enwraps his sword and in his struggles 
he becomes foul hooked. 

One fish had been hooked in the anal fin 
and the wire had been across his mouth 
which was badly lacerated. If foul hooked 
in the body and not in the fins the hook 
usually pulls out as they are a tender- 
skinned fish. 

It is very hard work, the hardest fishing 
undertaking that I ever indulged in, and I 
do not advise anyone to undertake it who 
is not young and strong and who does not 
weigh at least 180 pounds, yet there are 
moments in swordfishing that are intensely 
interesting even for a lightweight. 

The Farnum brothers of moving picture 
fame, both strong men, fought a broadbill 
for eleven hours. One of them wore a har- 
ness made of webbing. The harness broke 
and he not only lost the fish, but the rod. 
line, and reel as well, for the fish took them 
with him. One of the brothers succeeded 
[57] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

later in capturing a fish much to everyone's 
satisfaction. 

When I arrived at Santa Catalina Island 
I found that the kind secretary of the Tuna 
Club had engaged the 28-foot launch 
"Shorty" for me to fish in and told me that 
there were no marlin or tuna about, which 
was a great disappointment. 

The boatman, "Shorty" by nickname, 
hailed originally from Harlem, and as we 
were both Gothamites we understood one 
another at once for we spoke the same 
language. The first mate was Pard, 
"Shorty's" dog. Pard is a skilled fisherman 
and would always let us know when he saw 
a swordfish. 

The Island of Santa Catalina is ever a joy 
to look at. Its bold beauty of outline and 
picturesque rocks, its sunny canons which 
appear from time to time as you coast along 
its shores, and the fog-banks that overhang 
the mountains in the early mornings always 
impress one greatly. 

[58] 



SWORD FISH ING IN THE PACIFIC 

If you climb the hills and look down on 
the sea the picture is wonderful. You can 
see miles of coast line and the extraordi- 
nary colour of the sea can be observed, vary- 
ing as it does from the palest and most im- 
palpable of greens immediately under the 
shore to a deeper emerald beyond, and then 
as far as the eye can reach it is blue, the 
incomparable deep blue of the warm Pacific 
Ocean. 

We started out at 8 A.M. the first day after 
my arrival at Avalon. I told "Shorty" to 
keep in shore and to zigzag along, one mile 
off shore then back to the edge of the kelp, 
for I wanted a marlin and they are supposed 
to be found in shore. The fog overhung the 
island and I could not see where we were 
going nor did I pay much attention for it 
was a joy to be in a boat on a smooth sea 
after four days of railroad travel. 

We had been fishing about two hours 
when "Shorty" said: "Here is a broadbill 
and he is a buster; will you try him?" The 
[59] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

local names for the swordfish are broadbill 
or flatbill to distinguish him from the marlin 
whose bill is round. I found that we were 
four miles off shore and that "Shorty" had 
been instructed to put me on to a big sword- 
fish, and he did it with a vengeance. 

I looked over my shoulder and saw the 
dorsal fin of a large fish moving slowly near 
by and his tail, which was partly above the 
surface, seemed to be at least six feet from 
the dorsal fin. He was moving through the 
water leaving no wake behind him such as a 
shark does, and making no use of his tail; 
this he is enabled to do owing to the great 
power of his pectoral fins. 

The launch was slowed down. I had a 
flying-fish on the hook and let out 150 feet 
of line. The boatman now tried to manoeuvre 
the boat in such a manner that the bait 
would swing in front of and near the fish. 
This was difficult as the swordfish was turn- 
ing the same way we were, seeming un- 
willing to cross our wake. 
[60] 



SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

At last he saw the bait and as the fish 
sank the launch was stopped. He disap- 
peared without a motion or the least flirt 
of the tail. The balance of these fish is per- 
fection. 

"Shorty" said: "He is now going down to 
give it the once over; turn everything loose 
and give him plenty of line." The line was 
jarred as the fish struck the bait a hard blow 
and then it began to run out slowly. I gave 
him about two hundred feet and when the 
line became taut struck hard. 

I had hooked my first swordfish! 

He made a run of about two hundred 
yards and then sounded about six hundred 
feet, stayed down a few moments and al- 
lowed himself to be pumped up. He then 
came up to the surface and thrashed about 
in a circle, sounded again, was pumped up 
again. He did this several times. Within 
the first hour I had the double line, which 
was doubled back fifteen feet, on the reel 
three times and the wire leader was above 
[61] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

the surface. We could see the fish plainly 
and "Shorty" said he would weigh over five 
hundred pounds, but fish always look big 
under those circumstances and I was too 
busy to estimate weights. One thing I had 
discovered: he was too heavy for me, for 
in some of his sudden plunges he had 
nearly pulled me overboard. For the first 
time in my life I wished I weighed two 
hundred instead of one hundred and thirty 
pounds. 

Suddenly the fish made a dive under the 
boat. I turned everything loose and shoved 
the rod six feet into the sea. The fish came 
to the surface on the other side of the boat 
as "Shorty" started the launch ahead and 
the line cleared. 

This woke Senor Espada up and he raised 
Cain for two hours. He tried every fish trick 
known and jumped clear of the surface so 
that I could not help getting a good look 
at him. He was a very big fish; his sword 
looked five feet long to me, but everything 

[62] 



SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

in me had been stretched by this time, even 
my eyesight and imagination. 

It had been a cold foggy morning. I had 
on two sweaters. First one then the other 
had been peeled off. Then my collar and 
my hat had been thrown aside. "Shorty" 
remarked about this time that if I kept on 
I would be naked before the fish was taken. 

I fought the fish for all I was worth for 
four hours and twenty minutes, then brought 
him to the boat on his side. I had most of 
the double line on the reel and four feet 
of the leader out of the water. I called to 
"Shorty" to put the gaff into him. Just then 
the fish gave a last struggle and went under 
the boat and the line fouled on the upper 
end of the shoe that protects the propellor. 
The fish still on his side was under the boat 
in plain view but beyond the reach of the 
gaff and held by the fouled line. 

I slacked my line to see if the boatman 
could clear it with the gaff. The bag of 
the slack line drifted under the boat. 

[63] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

"Shorty" caught it with the gaff and cut it 
with his knife, then cut the line on the rod 
side of the boat, knotted the two ends, and 
told me reel in. I reeled in twenty-five feet 
or so of loose line and found he had cut the 
fish loose for he had knotted the wrong end 
and had thrown the fish end overboard. 

I thought much but said nothing ! 

I put my rod down with relief mingled 
with disgust and'looked over the side of the 
boat at the swordfish. He slowly revived a 
little, struggled, pulled the end of the line 
free and sank. 

I had been very tired at the end of the 
first hour but had my second wind and was 
going strong at the finish. 

I was a pretty stiff fisherman the follow- 
ing day. All my old hunting and polo 
breaks and strains were in strong evidence. 
If there had been a trout stream on the 
island I would have gone trout fishing. 
Trout were about my size that day. 

Trying to make the fish take the bait and 

[64] 



SWORDFISHING IN THE PACIFIC 

the moments that passed after the fish faded 
away beneath the surface and until he was 
hooked were moments of great excitement, 
but the rest of the time had been too hard 
work to call it unadulterated pleasure. 

There were members of the Tuna Club 
at Avalon who had fished for forty, yes, fifty 
days and had not persuaded a fish to take 
the bait, and I had hooked one before I had 
been fishing two hours. They called that 
good luck but I did not feel that way at 
the moment, yet I revived quickly. 

A few days later I hooked another large 
fish, pumped and hauled him for three 
hours, and broke my rod at the butt. The 
boatman spliced the rod while I held the 
tired fish with the tip. I then brought the 
fish alongside in twenty minutes more quite 
ready to gaff. The boatman had the leader 
in one hand and the gaff in the other when 
the leader caught between the brass cap of 
the exhaust, which was not screwed home, 
and the side of the boat. The hook straight- 
US ] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

ened out and the fish sank. The hook had 
been in the corner of his hard mouth. 

Swordfish were very plentiful that sum- 
mer for the first time. I counted and fished 
for nine one morning not five miles from 
Avalon. Some days they seem very shy and 
will not look at any bait. It is the custom 
to try a barracouta for bait if they refuse 
the flying fish, and if they do not take that 
an albacore may entice them. They have 
been known to take an albacore weighing 
twenty-four pounds. 

After ten days' fishing for broadbills I 
left for Clemente, to look for marlin, where 
I remained three days and on my return had 
five more days with the swordfish. 

The sea was like glass most mornings so 
that the fish could be seen at a great distance. 

In the last five days I tried about twenty- 
five broadbills but only hooked one. The 
others would either cut the bait off the hook 
or else pay no attention to it but swim off 
and come to the surface one hundred yards 

[66] 




MR. J. S. DOUGLAS' SWORDFISH 
404 pounds 



SWORDFISUING IN THE PACIFIC 

or more away, where we would follow and 
try again. We often wasted two hours after 
one fish in this manner. If the fish are not 
hungry this treatment seems to bore them 
for they will jump out clumsily four or five 
times. 

I played the third fish four hours and 
forty minutes, "Shorty" taking the rod for 
a short time to allow him to feel the weight 
of the fish. When the fish seemed to be 
leading nicely the hook pulled out. I am 
sure he was foul-hooked in his thin-skinned 
body for I could feel the hook slip from 
time to time. After the first hour he jumped 
at least ten feet into the air showing plainly 
his broad back, which looked as wide as 
the bottom of a canoe. He then ran out six 
hundred feet of line and fought on the sur- 
face. This amused the dog, Pard, greatly. 

It is difficult to persuade a broadbill to 
bite and still more difficult to hook him, and 
if he is a big one, still more difficult to do 
anything with him after he is hooked. 
[67] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

He is a much more interesting fish to 
fight than the large tuna for he is a better 
general and no two fish seem to fight alike. 
There is a sameness about tuna fishing that 
does not exist in swordfishing. 

It would be quite impossible to kill these 
fish without the modern reel with its heavy 
drag; thumb pressure alone could not do it, 
the fish are too strong. 

This fishing was a lesson to me in what 
fishing tackle will stand. I did not think 
it possible that a split bamboo rod and a 
24-thread line could stand such a strain. 

The rod I broke had just come from the 
shop after having a new ferrule fitted on 
the tip. The workman must have damaged 
the outer skin of the bamboo for the rod 
broke gradually. 

It was hard work but a great experience, 
for one learns something every day one 
fishes, no matter how many days or how 
many years one devotes to the sport. 

[68] 



V 

PARD 

"THIS DISH OF MEAT IS TOO GOOD FOR ANY BUT 
ANGLERS, OR VERY HONEST MEN." 

Walton. 



PARD 

NOT much is known of Pard's pedigree 
except the fact that his mother was a bull- 
bitch and that he was brought as a puppy 
to Avalon and believed to be a clean bred 
bull-pup. But when his owner saw him grow 
up a nondescript he abandoned him and the 
dog became "Shorty's" Pard. 

If I can trust my eyes his father was a 
foxhound and a good one, for few dogs have 
a better nose than Pard. "Shorty's" little 
nephew says: "Uncle 'Shorty's' feet must 
smell strong and pleasant-like for Pard can 
find him anywhere." 

The dog must have a Teutonic ancestor 
somewhere for his favorite food is Bologna 
sausage. If you give him a nickel he will 
trot off with it to the butcher's and return 
with a paper parcel for you to open con- 
taining five cents' worth of Bologna. 
[71] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

In the summertime Avalon is crowded and 
everyone knows Pard and the butcher does 
a thriving trade in Bologna, yet he tells me 
Pard is his only customer as the island is 
strongly pro-Ally. When Pard is not 
hungry he collects nickels all the same and 
deposits them in "Shorty's" locker on the 
wharf. 

I never saw him refuse money on shore 
but nothing can persuade him to look at a 
coin when on board the launch. 

One morning as I was going to breakfast 
at Joe's Restaurant I met the dog and gave 
him his usual nickel and was surprised to 
see him follow me into the restaurant and 
slip into the kitchen with the first waiter 
who passed through the swinging doors. In 
a few moments he reappeared with a mutton 
bone which he had purchased from the cook. 
It was Sunday morning and, without going 
to look, Pard knew the butcher's shop was 
closed! 

"Shorty" is a public fisherman. In sum- 
[72] 



P ARD 

mer he takes sportsmen fishing and in win- 
ter he fishes for the market. On all these 
trips Pard acts as first mate, and there is 
little that he does not know about fish and 
fishing. 

"Shorty" tells me that in the winter he 
has an alarm-clock to call him at four o'clock 
in the morning but that Pard seldom fails 
to paw his arm a few moments before the 
alarm sounds. 

He has never been known to forget his 
good manners on board the boat though 
stormbound for forty-eight hours, and he 
will not drink a drop of water even in the 
warmest weather until he reaches land. Pard 
reasons as well as thinks. 

Pard has but two dislikes; one is wasps, 
the other bull-dogs. He snarls and snaps 
at the former and pounces upon the latter. 
He knows he is the son of a bull-bitch but 
evidently does not like to be reminded of 
the fact. 

Last winter Avalon was partly destroyed 

[73] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

by fire, and the moving picture people in 
Los Angeles saw a great opportunity to stage 
a scene for "Civilization" called "After the 
Battle." "Shorty" represented a dead 
French soldier being watched over by his 
faithful dog. The widow appears searching 
for her dead husband. She sees their dog 
and falls fainting upon her dead spouse. 
Pard objected to this and the battle began 
again. The dead French soldier was obliged 
to sit up and stop the fight. The film was 
a failure. 

Pard can see a swordfish at a great dis- 
tance, and whenever I was hooked to one 
would sit up beside me and attempt to tell 
me how to fight the fish and became greatly 
excited when the fish jumped. When a fish 
was gaffed he played the "Chocolat act" by 
rushing about all over the boat attempting 
to do nothing. 

For intelligence and common sense Pard 
has few equals among canines. He is almost 
human. 

[74] 



VI 
THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

"WITH HIS MOUTH WIDE OPEN AND HIS FINS ALL SPREAD, 
WALKING ON HIS TAIL AND STANDING ON HIS HEAD 
SPEARFISH OR SWORDFISH, CALL HIM WHAT YOU WILL, 



VI 

THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

(T etrapturis mitsukurif) 

I JOURNEYED from Maine to Santa 
Catalina Island, California, at the end of 
August to attempt to take a marlin. This 
fish is the jumping-jack of the Pacific ocean, 
and I had heard so much of his acrobatic 
performances that I decided that no journey 
would be too long if I could but capture one. 

The marlin is sometimes called the Jap- 
anese swordfish, which is a misnomer, for 
his so-called sword is a spear shaped like a 
marlin-spike, hence the name, marlin. He 
is a true spearfish and is to be found in the 
warm waters of the Pacific ocean. 

He appears, as a rule, off the island of 

San Clemente in early September, coming 

from the south. San Clemente is twenty 

miles due south of Santa Catalina Island. 

[77] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Some years these fish have been very 
numerous off the latter island during the 
second half of the month of September, but 
I was disappointed when told on my arrival 
at the Tuna Club that but one fish had so 
far been taken during the summer. Others 
had been reported but they were few and far 
between. 

As the members of the club were all fish- 
ing for swordfish (Xiphias gladius) I had 
to follow suit, for no tuna were reported. 

We roamed the ocean and "Shorty," my 
boatman, and Pard, his dog, looked for 
swordfish. I kept a line wet most of the time, 
hoping for a stray marlin. 

After ten days' swordfishing I heard that 
the marlin were reported as being plentiful 
off the island of San Clemente and decided, 
Mohammed-like, to go to the mountain. 

What makes the waters around the Chan- 
nel Islands ideal for fishing is the fact that 
on nine out of ten mornings during the sum- 
mer months you will find the ocean as 
[78] 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

smooth as glass. About noon the westerly 
trades begin to blow. Sometimes it is a 
gentle wind but often it blows hard and the 
sea becomes too rough for comfortable fish- 
ing after two o'clock. 

We made an early start from Avalon in 
order to take advantage of a smooth sea, 
coasted along lovely Santa Catalina, cleared 
the island, and steered due south for the 
camp at San Clemente. 

It was not long before the fog which over- 
hangs the islands in the early mornings lifted 
so that we could see San Clemente in the 
distance. 

San Clemente is evidently the overflow 
of a great volcano and is a mountain of rock 
and lava rising from the sea. It is studded 
with caverns and caves, not only along the 
coast line but beneath it and up its canon- 
riven sides. 

The flora consists of arborvitae, ironwood, 
cactus, and ice-plants, and wild oats grow 
on the tableland. 

[79] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The island belongs to the United States 
government and is leased as a sheep-ranch. 
It supports some fifteen thousand sheep and 
wild goats which feast upon the wild oats 
and use the caves for shelters. The only 
inhabitants are the sheep herders and Pete 
Schneider, a Belgian, who runs the camp at 
Mosquito Harbour where we were bound. 

We reached the island about four hours 
after leaving Avalon, having seen but little 
sea-life on the way only a few sunfish 
jumping here and there and a school or two 
of porpoises. 

We found the camp a very simple one 
but clean and the food very good. We slept 
under canvas, washed and shaved out of 
doors, and took our meals in a wooden shack. 

The island is about eighteen miles long 
and has great majestic beauty of outline. 
The waters that surround it have been cele- 
brated for fishing. Tuna, yellowtail, white 
sea-bass, black sea-bass, and marlin are to 
be found in plenty at the right seasons. 
[80] 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

We found but one party fishing there and 
they arrived home at suppertime empty 
handed. 

I told "Shorty" to find out from their 
boatman where the marlin were trading, for 
several fish had been taken during the week. 
The jealous boatman gave "Shorty" the 
wrong advice by telling him the fish were to 
be found in shore. 

We started the following morning bright 
and early and zigzagged the whole length of 
the island but found only one fish lazily 
sunning himself on the surface. Try as we 
would we could not persuade him to look at 
any bait. 

We trolled for ten weary hours. I say 
weary hours for it is a strain to troll a flying- 
fish bait weighing a pound at the end of one 
hundred or more feet of line held by thumb 
pressure only, for one must be ready to give 
line if one has a strike as the fish pick up 
the bait and move off before gorging it. That 
is the theory but not my experience, for the 
[81] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

following day I trolled with only seventy- 
five feet of line and struck the fish when he 
struck me. 

That night a kind sportsman told me that 
we had been on the wrong track, that the 
fish were off shore at the eastern end of the 
island. It seems the kelp-cutter from the 
potash factory at San Diego had been cutting 
the kelp, some of which had floated off shore 
and harboured much bait, and the marlin 
were feeding on this small fry. 

We were off at seven the following morn- 
ing and rounded Eastern Point where the 
sea was breaking on the reef in great circles 
of white foam. 

We trolled around the point, into and 
around Smugglers' Cove, a celebrated fish- 
ing ground, and then made a bee line off 
shore. About six miles out we found acres 
of floating kelp with myriads of small fish 
jumping about, evidently being pursued. 

It was not long before we lost the teaser. 
A teaser is a flying-fish attached by twenty- 
[82] 



'xciV^ 




MARLIN WHEN FIRST HOOKED 




THE END OF A JUMP 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

five feet of line to a fifteen-foot bamboo pole. 
No hook is used. This flying-fish skitters 
along on top of the water and acts as chum. 
My bait was fifty feet further astern. 

I soon had a strike and hooked a marlin. 
He jumped half out of water and tried to 
shake the hook loose but I had driven it well 
home. He then performed a stunt that was 
beyond all my fishing experience. We were 
following the fish at full speed at the time 
and the reel brake was on, but this strong 
and lively fish jumped twenty-two times in 
a straight line tearing the line off the bend- 
ing rod as he went. He then sounded and 
jumped again, fought on top of the water, 
swam in circles, and performed every kind 
of piscatorial acrobatics known. He jumped 
twenty-nine times and in forty-five minutes 
I had him alongside stone dead. My first 
marlin! I was warm with excitement and 
pleasure, for my journey of thirty-five hun- 
dred miles had now been well worth while. 
"Shorty" shook me by the hand and sug- 
[83] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

gested that we land a few more, which we 
proceeded to do after stowing our fish on 
board. 

I soon had another strike and hooked the 
fish. This one proved to be a perfect danc- 
ing-master, for after showing his beak and 
shaking his head he made a run of about 
one hundred feet, then rose up out of the 
sea and did a song and dance on the end of 
his tail for fully one hundred yards. We 
were following him at full speed but he was 
simply stripping the line from off the reel. 
Then he disappeared below the surface and 
"Shorty" said: "You have lost him." The 
line was slack and I was reeling in as fast 
as I could when suddenly I saw the spearfish 
on top of the water, charging down upon us, 
while following him was the bag of the slack 
line cutting the spindrift off the tops of the 
white-crested waves. He was coming at great 
speed. I yelled: "Port your helm, 
'Shorty,' ' ' and as the boat turned the fish 
shot by on the surface close under the stern. 
[84] 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

Would he have gone through or under 
the boat had we not altered our course? 
I wonder. 

As the line became taut the fish jumped 
clear of the surface. He jumped in all 
twenty-two times and in thirty-five minutes 
came alongside belly up, when it was found 
that he was hooked in the tail. 

The fish was beautiful to look at. The 
greater part of his body was bright silver 
and he was striped with translucent royal 
purple stripes an inch wide. His back was 
dark green bronze and his tail and fins were 
mauve. 

When in the water he is a blaze of glory 
but the colours soon fade after the dead 
fish is exposed to the air. A mounted marlin 
gives one an idea of the graceful shape of 
the fish but no idea of his real beauty of 
colour. 

It took us some time to hoist the dead 
fish on board, for although a fish only weighs 
in the water the number of pounds that the 
[85] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

water he displaces would weigh, any part 
of the fish that is above the surface is of 
course dead weight. 

The first fish had been laid across the 
stern of the boat; that was easy, but this 
fish had to be roped on to the narrow deck 
on the port side. 

His weight at the moment was over two 
hundred pounds and the combined weight 
of fisherman and boatman was only two 
hundred and sixty pounds. "Shorty" fas- 
tened the peak halliard block to the bill of 
the marlin while I roped his tail. Then the 
fish was hoisted half out of the water but 
I did not have strength enough to lift the 
other half on board. I told "Shorty" to 
gaff the fish in or near the anal fin and give 
me a hand, get the fish on board, and lower 
away. 

Now a funny thing happened. It was 

rough and we were rolling about in the 

trough of the sea. As "Shorty" attempted 

to drive the gaff home the end of the bamboo 

[86] 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

teaser pole, which had been carelessly 
thrown on top of the deck house and was 
foul of the mast, caught "Shorty" in the 
back as the boat rolled and catapulted him 
into the sea. He climbed back on board a 
very wet and surprised sailorman for he did 
not know what had hit him. 

We soon found the floating kelp and the 
jumping small fry and had not been troll- 
ing more than a quarter of an hour before 
we ran into a school of marlin. Four or five 
rushed after the teaser and pulled the pole 
overboard. It went bobbing away astern, 
first disappearing entirely, then shooting 
straight up on end. This happened several 
times in a most comical manner before the 
fish disconnected the flying-fish from the 
line to which it was made fast. 

A moment later a marlin took my bait, 
I hooked him, and the music began again. 
The fish emerged with beak open and shook 
himself, then rushed on top of the water 
for one hundred yards and jumped clear 

[87] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

of the surface. He then pirouetted once or 
twice on the end of his tail and jumped 
again. After jumping sixteen times in 
twenty minutes he sounded and fought more 
like a true swordfish than a marlin. He was 
a tough customer to handle and it took me 
eighty minutes to land him. 

I looked at my watch as he was gaffed 
and found it was just three hours and a 
half from the time of the strike of the first 
fish! 

"Shorty" remarked: "Some fishing, eh? 
Let's corral another." 

I insisted on having lunch first, which we 
devoured while the launch with her six hun- 
dred pounds of fish on deck tried hard to 
roll over. 

A heavy sea was running. It had been 
all I could do while playing the last fish to 
keep from going overboard. Had it not been 
for my patent rod rest which held my rod 
steady and gave me something to hold on 
to, I should have been in the sea and like 

[88] 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

"Shorty" arrayed in an Isadora Duncan 
bathing suit. 

It was too rough to fish so we started back 
to camp. We had not gone far before 
"Shorty" saw a swordfish, a true broadbill. 
He slowed the launch down and wanted me 
to try him. I told him to give the fish a 
wide berth and go full steam ahead. I 
wanted no five-hour fight with a broadbill 
in that rough sea after the three hours and 
a half of calisthenics that I had been 
through. In fact I had had enough fishing 
for one day. How seldom that happens! 

On our way back to the camp we ran 
into a large school of marlin. The crest of 
every big wave was pierced by their large 
dorsal fins as they rode on the top of the 
heavy swells. I never saw such a fish pic- 
ture before and it was heartrending to think 
that it was too rough to fish with safety. We 
had a teaser pole out, which was torn loose. 
The fish seemed ready to devour everything 
in sight. 

[89] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

It was too rough to go back to Avalon that 
night so we remained at the camp. 

The wind was strong from the northwest 
and as our course was due north we had a 
rough trip of over five hours and a half the 
following day and arrived at Avalon with 
everything on board afloat. 

The fish were weighed on the Tuna Club 
scales thirty hours after they had been taken 
and tipped the beam at 189, 186, and 183 
pounds. These fish seem all to be of about 
the same length, from ten to eleven feet, 
their weight depending on their girth. 

Marlin are the most sensational fish that 
swim. Their pace and agility, the way they 
walk the tight rope on the end of their tails, 
and their power to jump have to be seen to 
be believed. 

I am told that the heavy fish record 372 
pounds do not jump much and are hard 
to kill. 

A friend of mine saw a marlin in the fish 
market at Honolulu that weighed 725 

[901 




THREE AND ONE HALF HOURS' FISHING 
AT SAN CLEMENTE 



THE MARLIN OR SPEARFISH 

pounds, and it is said that fish exist that 
weigh one thousand pounds or more. 

The tackle allowed by the rules of the 
Tuna Club is a rod of wood consisting of 
a butt and tip not to be shorter than six 
feet nine inches over all; the tip not less 
than five feet in length and to weigh not 
more than sixteen ounces; line not to ex- 
ceed standard 24 thread. The hooks used 
are the regulation tarpon trolling-hooks. 
The wire leader is twelve feet long and the 
bait a flying-fish. I fished with 1,000 feet 
of line but most fishermen carry from 1,200 
to 1,500 feet. 

RECORD 

The first marlin, weighing 125 pounds, 
was taken in 1903. There was another taken 
in 1905 and again in 1908. 

9 were taken in 1909 

9 were taken in 1910 

34 were taken in 1911 

100 were taken in 1912 

[91] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

22 were taken in 1913 
24 were taken in 1914 
47 were taken in 1915 
70 were taken in 1916 



315 fish 
The largest fish weighed 340 pounds. 



192] 



VII 

FISHING WITH KITE AND SLED 

"ALL THAT ARE LOVERS OF VIRTUE, ... BE QUIET AND 

Walton. 



VII 
FISHING WITH KITE AND SLED 

NO one has ever been able to decide what 
causes fish to change their habits, yet every 
fisherman has theories on the subject. 

When I first visited Catalina Island in 
1900 the tuna were very plentiful and could 
be taken by simply trolling a hundred feet 
of line behind a launch, with a flying-fish 
for bait. 

I captured five in six hours, averaging 
one hundred pounds in weight, and landed 
thirteen fish in fifteen days' fishing within 
five miles of Avalon. 

On my second visit in 1910 it was im- 
possible to persuade a tuna to take unless 
the bait was skittered in front of his nose 
and the fish persuaded that the flying-fish 
was alive. Why this change? 

Some of the fishermen maintained that 
L95] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

the tuna had become educated and there- 
fore more difficult to deceive. They are a 
migratory fish and it is hardly probable that 
the same schools return as a rule to the 
waters of the Channel Islands, especially 
as the fish have the habit of disappearing 
entirely for years at a time. 

The fact remains that the schools of fish 
would vanish if approached by a boat and 
would not follow the wake of a launch under 
any circumstances. 

Skittering a one-pound bait with a rod 
is hard work, so kite fishing was invented 
at Avalon for this purpose and proved to 
be a great success, and it has become the 
belief that no one can take a tuna these days 
by any other means. 

The kite used is a simple 28 inch or larger 
boy's kite made preferably of silk with the 
usual ragtail to which are added a few wine 
bottle corks to make the kite float should it 
fall into the sea. 

The kite is allowed about seven hundred 

[96] 




FISHING WITH A KITE 



FISHING WITH KITE AND SLED 

feet of old fishing line from off a reel, and 
then the fisherman's line is tied to the 
kite line about twenty feet from the bait 
with a piece of cotton twine. The kite 
is then given more line in order to place 
the bait at the proper distance from the 
launch. 

The launch then travels across the wind 
or tacks down wind, the boatman adjust- 
ing the speed and direction so as to make 
the flying-fish bait skitter along the surface 
and jump from wave to wave, which action 
the fisherman can aid with his rod. 

The boatman manoeuvres the boat so that 
the bait passes ahead of the school of fish 
or through the school if so inclined. The 
bait being well to leeward the fish are not 
disturbed or frightened by the launch. 

When a tuna takes the bait the cotton 
line breaks and the kite is reeled in or falls 
into the sea according to the direction in 
which the hooked fish travels. 

Many fish have been captured by this 
[97] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

means which could not otherwise be per- 
suaded to take. 

Some of the boatmen at Avalon have be- 
come artists in kite fishing for it is not as 
simple as it reads, as the kite must fly 
steadily and the bait be kept moving in a 
natural manner, for although it is easy to 
fool some fish sometimes it is not easy to 
fool all the fish all the time. 

For a kite to fly, there must be wind and 
wind of the proper weight. It must not blow 
too light nor too heavy, for in the latter case 
it is difficult to keep the bait on the surface 
of the water. 

In order to find a substitute for the kite 
the wise men of the Tuna Club put their 
heads together and invented or adapted sled 
fishing. I say adapted, for poachers in 
Great Britain have for years used a sled in 
some fast running streams in order to place 
a shrimp or bunch of worms in mid-stream 
so as to steal other people's salmon and 
trout. 

[98] 








FISHING WITH A SLED 



FISHING WITH KITE AND SLED 

The sled used at Catalina is a roughly 
made boy's sled about three feet long with 
solid runners well tipped up in front. The 
top of the sled instead of being solid has 
two crossboards about six inches wide and 
six inches apart screwed on to the runners 
at a slight slant so that the sled will not bury 
but will ride the waves. A strong eyebolt 
is screwed through each top board and down 
into the nigh runner and these are joined by 
a light but strong rope. 

To this rope one hundred or more feet of 
light cotton rope is attached at about one 
third of the length of the sled from the fore 
end of the runner. For instance, in a three 
foot sled it would be made fast one foot from 
the fore end. The baited line is tied as in 
kite fishing at whatever distance you may 
choose from the sled. The leading line is 
then played out eighty or one hundred feet 
and made fast to the mast, the higher up 
the better to keep the belly of the line from 
dragging in the water. 
[99] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The launch is then started at a good pace 
and as soon as the leading line becomes taut 
the sled races along abreast of the boat in 
gallant style and the bait skitters and 
bounds from wave to wave. 

When a fish strikes, your line pulls free 
but the impetus of the sled is such that the 
fish seldom escapes being hooked. 

The sled does not frighten the fish in the 
least. Marlin have been known to follow 
and strike it and yellowtail to chase in hot 
pursuit. 

By this method the boatman can place the 
bait wherever it is wanted. 

In yellowtail fishing the bait can be 
trolled along the edge of the kelp, which the 
yellowtail frequent, and this cannot be done 
by ordinary means as the kelp fouls the 
propeller of the launch. 

These methods of fishing are full of move- 
ment and are most amusing as well as suc- 
cessful ways of taking both tuna and 
yellowtail. 

[100] 



vm 

THE BOATMEN OF AVALON 



VIII 
THE BOATMEN OF AVALON 

THE public boatmen at Avalon own their 
own launches and supply all manner of 
fishing tackle to their patrons, the loan of 
which is included in the price charged for 
the day's rental of the fishing boat. 

The luxury of borrowed tackle is much 
enjoyed by the novice or casual fishing 
visitor, who does not appreciate until too 
late that his expenses have been greatly 
added to by breakage, for broken tackle must 
be replaced by the amateur and the lines 
supplied are often of ancient vintage. 

The regulars have their own personal 
ideas as to rods, reels, and lines, and do not 
trust the outfits supplied by the profes- 
sionals, but the innocent one-day casual 
fisherman has to learn by experience. If 
he returns to Catalina on a second visit he 
[103] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

generally arrives supplied with tackle galore, 
for his visit has made him wise. 

If you are unfortunate enough to lose a 
fish, it is the boatman who is disappointed, 
for he feels that it is his reputation as a 
fisherman that has been injured by your 
mistakes or your misfortune, and you rise 
or fall in his estimation according to your 
skill, or often your luck, in landing fish, 
for his reputation depends upon the fish that 
are brought home and weighed. 

The amount of sport a fisherman enjoys 
at Catalina on his first visit to the island 
depends greatly upon the boatman he 
employs to guide him in his piscatorial 
efforts, for there are boatmen a-plenty to 
be had but they are not all good fishermen 
as well. 

I remember the experience of a friend of 
mine a few years ago. He arrived at Avalon 
full of expectation and, having read Pro- 
fessor Holder's books and learned much of 
the ability and fishing knowledge of one 
[104] 



THE BOATMEN OF AVALON 

"Mexican Joe," hunted him up and started 
out fishing. 

Now Mexican Joe in the Professor's day 
and at the time I would tell of was two dif- 
ferent beings. Joe had grown old and care- 
less and no longer took much interest in 
his trade. His boat and tackle were 
antiquated and what custom he had was 
owing to his past reputation, for he had 
been one of the earliest and best fishermen 
at Avalon. 

My friend fished with fair luck and cap- 
tured a few albacore. Towards sunset when 
some miles from land, the launch suddenly 
stopped and Joe began to tinker with the 
engine, but to no avail. After trying every 
trick he knew of he went forward and 
sounded the gasolene tank and informed my 
enthusiastic fishing friend that the last drop 
of gasolene had disappeared. 

Joe was not at all disturbed at the situ- 
ation, remarking that they would surely be 
picked up during the night or on the mor- 
[105] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

row. He was afloat on his home waters and 
quite happy. 

After throwing the fish that had been 
caught overboard, much against the advice 
of my friend who saw the only food in sight 
wasted, Joe curled up and went to sleep. 

Night had fallen and the wind began to 
blow, which caused a short sea that tossed 
the helpless launch about in a most uncom- 
fortable manner. My friend sat in a chair 
all night, bracing himself against the tum- 
bling waves, believing that his night as well 
as his day had come. 

They were searched for the following 
morning and picked up many miles from 
Avalon. 

The names of Professor Holder and 
Mexican Joe are both still anathema to my 
fishing friend, for he has not forgotten his 
night-long vigil in an open launch on a 
strange and inhospitable sea. 

The boatmen are of many different na- 
tionalities. One of them, a Latin and a good 
[106] 



THE BOATMEN OF AVALON 

fisherman, was employed by a giant cattle- 
man from the western plains to take him 
fishing. He undertook to tell the cowboy 
how to fish : "Me-ester Snow," he said, "you 
must not leeft your rod dat way but dis way." 
"Go on, you d d dago, don't you sup- 
pose I know how to fish?" had been the 
reply. A short time after the Westerner 
landed a fish by brute force and shouted: 
"There is a fish for you, my dago friend, 
did I not tell you I knew how to fish?" "Yes, 
Mr. Snow," said the boatman as he removed 
the hook, "you have a fish but, Mr. Snow, 
it is the leetlest fish I ever see!" 

One season on my arrival at Catalina I 
found my usual boatman was employed for 
a few days so that I was obliged to hunt for 
a substitute. The fishing had been good and 
most of the boats were engaged by the week. 
The man who fell to my lot was a foreigner 
with a great reputation for finding fish if 
they were anywhere about. I was not im- 
pressed by his boat. It looked like a junk- 
[107] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

shop. Rusted bolts, screws, hooks, and tools 
were piled in heaps on the thwarts, and the 
boat had apparently not been cleaned in 
many moons. 

The boatman produced a very rusty hook 
and snood and proposed to bend it on to 
my line. I objected and handed him a new 
hook rigged to my liking. This was criticised 
and not approved of but reluctantly tied to 
my line, and I proceeded to fish. 

A short time after the boatman touched 
me on the shoulder and remarked: "You 
men come from the East and tell us pro- 
fessionals how to fish." I said nothing not- 
withstanding that the boot was on the other 
leg. 

We combed the ocean all day with no 
result, for it was one of those still days at 
sea which makes one believe that the fish 
have formed a League of Nations with an 
agreement not to bite. 

On the following day I hooked a large 
marlin and the fun began. I looked over 
[108] 



THE BOATMEN OF AVALON 

my shoulder and saw the fish jumping ahead 
of the launch and became busy reeling in 
the slack line. When this had been accom- 
plished I found to my horror that it led 
directly under the launch, the boatman hav- 
ing crossed the line. I shouted but the boat- 
man calmly replied: "How do I know where 
the fish he goes!" The line fouled on the 
keel of the launch and parted. 

I sat with folded arms and watched that 
giant fish, irritated by the drag through the 
water of five hundred feet of free line, jump 
thirty or more times. The conversation that 
followed the final jump of that marlin was 
interesting; however, I hooked another fish 
and that one was safely landed. 

Two days later this boatman had a novice 
fishing with him who lost a fine fish at the 
last moment, owing to the breaking of the 
wire snood the rusty one I had discarded! 

Swordfish and marlin have such great 
strength and weight that it is always wise 
to take no chances with tackle. It must be 
[109] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

new, sound, and strong, for it is heartbreak- 
ing to lose a fish after thirty minutes, or in 
some cases hours, of hard struggle. 



[HO] 



IX 
THE LADY AND THE TUNA 

"VEXED WITH THE PUNY FOE THE TUNNIES LEAP, 
FLOUNCE ON THE STREAM AND TOSS THE MANTLING 

DEEP, 

RIDE ON THE FOAMING SEAS,WITH TORTURE RAVE, 
BOUND INTO AIR, AND DASH THE SMOKING WAVE." 

Halieutica, OPPIAN, A.D. 180 



IX 
THE LADY AND THE TUNA 

I WAS sitting on the hotel piazza at Avalon 
one summer afternoon, smoking and think- 
ing of my morning's sport. My experience 
that morning had been a strange one. I had 
started out fishing before daybreak, much 
to my discomfort, for I am not a willing 
early riser; but it pays at Catalina, for the 
sun rising over the mountains is a sight 
never to be forgotten. About half an hour 
after daylight I had hooked a tuna which 
bolted with the flying-fish bait at express- 
train speed and was only checked, after 
taking six hundred feet of line, by the 
spreading of my reel. I was fishing with a 
tarpon reel of large size but not strong 
enough for so fast and heavy a fish. The 
reel handle would not turn either way, and 
my boatman whispered, "Stung!" in my 
[113] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

ear. "Not on your life," had been my ready 
reply. Luckily, I had two rods in the boat 
but they were not of the same make nor 
were the butt sockets of the same diameter. 
I called to the boatman to follow the fish 
which was only too glad to travel slowly, 
being much exhausted after his great run. 
I then told my man Gibbons, who was also 
in the launch, to strip three-quarters of the 
line from off the spare reel, and cut it, then 
to pass the line through the eyes of the rod 
and let me know when he was ready. In 
the meantime I wound the line a dozen times 
around my left, gloved, hand from off the 
reel I was fishing with. When my man said 
that he was ready I told him to cut my line 
close to the reel and to tie it to the line at 
the tip end of the rod he held. I then told 
him to reel the knotted line home as I un- 
wound the line from my left hand. When 
he told me that this had been done, I re- 
moved the tip from the butt I held and 
allowed it to shoot six hundred feet down 

[114] 



THE LADY AND THE TUNA 

the line to the fish. I then grasped the sec- 
ond rod and fought the fish to a finish in half 
an hour. 

When the dying fish came to the surface, 
having handed my rod to the boatman, I 
brought the victim alongside to be gaffed 
on the original tip which had been for thirty 
minutes in the depths of the sea. 

As I said, I was thinking over this experi- 
ence and wondering what would have hap- 
pened had I not had a second rod with me, 
when a fellow-sportsman came to me and 
asked if he might present me to Miss C. of 
Los Angeles. Miss C. was a buxom young 
woman who complimented me on my suc- 
cess in taking tuna, and informed me that 
she had been fishing for a month for yellow- 
tail with light tackle but was most keen to 
land a tuna, a feat no woman had ever suc- 
ceeded in accomplishing. I told her she had 
better go fishing with me that afternoon, 
never thinking for a moment that we should 
find fish at that hour of the day, but know- 

[115] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

ing that the next best thing to catching fish 
is to fish for them without catching them. 
I having supplied Miss C. with a rod and a 
newly purchased tarpon reel, we started, 
sitting side by side in chair seats in the stern 
of the fishing launch a very pleasant 
scheme for gentle conversation but not for 
fishing; for it is customary that, if one of 
the party hooks a fish, the other shall reel in 
and patiently watch the sport. 

We had been out on the ocean about half 
an hour when I hooked a tuna. At the same 
moment I heard my companion shout, "I 
have one too, and our lines are crossed." 
I stood up in the boat, passed my rod under 
and over hers, and luckily cleared the lines, 
My fish traveled fast to the north, the other 
fish going south. Then the fun began in 
earnest. I told the boatman to sit tight as 
there was nothing he could do to help us, 
and, having taken the seat in the stern facing 
the bow of the boat, I began to fight my fish 
with all my strength, for I knew that the 

[116] 



THE LADY AND THE TUNA 

harder I fought it the more it would distress 
the other fish. 

I kept hearing "Ohs!" and "Ahs!" and 
"Great Heavens!" from my fair companion, 
but was too busy myself to pay much atten- 
tion to what she was doing. In forty-five 
minutes I had my fish alongside and gaffed 
104 pounds. Then I looked to see what 
was going on to the southward. I found the 
lady's tuna had luckily been hooked in the 
top of the mouth, that it had practically 
drowned itself on its first long run, and had 
since then been flopping about on the sur- 
face of the water. I also saw that Miss C.'s 
reel had blocked, so that the line would not 

* 

run out, and that she had but fifty feet of 
line left. She was holding on to the rod for 
dear life but looked very pale. I told the 
boatman to back the boat slowly toward the 
flopping fish, and was pleased to find that 
the reel would take the line. We soon had 
the tuna gaffed and in the boat 118 
pounds. Miss C. collapsed at once; her hat 

[117] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

was off, her hair was streaming down her 
back, and she was utterly exhausted, so we 
hastened back to Avalon with the Tuna Club 
flag proudly flying at the mast. 

There was consternation at the Tuna Club 
that evening. We supposed that anyone was 
eligible to membership in the Club who had 
killed a tuna of one hundred pounds un- 
aided; but the women did not have the vote 
in California then and no provision had been 
made for lady members, for it had not been 
supposed that a lady could possibly take a 
tuna. Miss C., sad to relate, was refused 
membership but was awarded the much- 
prized tuna button, which no doubt is still 
her most valued possession. 

I often think of that day's fishing with 
pleasure as it was a day full of new sensa- 
tions and many thrills, for the tuna were 
leaping about everywhere, chasing the flying- 
fish. 



[118] 



X 

THE BIG MARLIN AT GALLAGHER'S 



X 

THE BIG MARLIN AT GALLAGHER'S 

MARLIN fishing is most interesting, for as 
a rule you see the action of the fish on the 
surface as he approaches and takes the bait. 

One of the charms of salmon fishing is 
that one may often stalk, coax, and finally 
capture an individual fish. This is also some- 
times possible when fishing for marlin. It 
is a question of matching your wits and your 
skill against the natural cleverness of the 
fish. No two fish fight just alike, so that 
you must adapt your tactics to the fighting 
strategy of the individual fish. 

We had all been fishing for marlin for 
some days with poor luck. Twenty-two 
launches had been trolling back and forth 
from Seal Rocks to San Diego Bank, as if 
in the wide Pacific Ocean no marlin could 
be found except in that restricted stretch of 
sea. 

[121] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

An average of two fish a day for twenty- 
two boats is not great fishing. 

I had taken three good fish in four days, 
yet was not satisfied with the result of my 
labours and decided to hunt for fish instead 
of having them hunt for me. 

One day after luncheon I told my boat- 
man to go to Gallagher's for a try. Gal- 
lagher's is a cove at the mouth of a small 
canon and in the canon there is a dismantled 
house once occupied by one Gallagher, a 
fisherman. 

This indentation is out of the tideway and 
we found its waters alive with bait. We had 
hardly entered the cove when we saw the 
large dorsal fin of a marlin that was lying 
close in to the edge of the kelp comfortably 
sunning himself. As we approached he 
sank. 

After trolling about for a time with no 

result, I told the boatman not to bother to 

look for the fish for, judging from the 

amount of food that was about, the marlin 

[122] 



THE BIG MARLIN AT GALLAGHER'S 

must have satisfied his hunger. I felt that 
he would remain where food was so plenti- 
ful, and the moon being young and the 
nights dark, the early morning would be the 
time to find the fish hungry. 

The following morning at seven-thirty, we 
were bound for Gallagher's. We had trolled 
about the cove but a few moments when a 
large marlin side-wiped my bait leaving only 
the head of the flying-fish on the hook as a 
token of his fencing ability. 

He must have been a pricked fish with a 
good memory, for, although we baited up 
with a fresh flying-fish, no amount of coax- 
ing had any results. As a rule, fish as 
hungry as he appeared to be, return for more 
food. 

The next morning we were back at Gal- 
lagher's. We had hardly entered the cove 
when I saw the giant fish, showing his dorsal 
fin and tail, coming on the surface at rail- 
road speed, and shouted: "Here he comes." 

He hit the bait and the line ran out. I 
[123] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

gave him one hundred feet or more of line 
and then struck solid! The fight began! 

The fish jumped but once, a beautiful 
clean jump of twenty feet before landing 
with a splash. As he jumped the bait came 
up the line and I then knew that he had hit 
the bait with his sword and had become foul- 
hooked trying to follow it. 

He was a heavy fish and fought hard as 
they always do when they do not exhaust 
themselves by continuous lofty jumping. 

I landed him after ninety minutes of very 
hard work and found that he was foul-hooked 
just below the pectoral fin on the right side. 

He had struck when traveling too fast, 
had driven the bait up the line and turning 
to get it had hooked himself in the side. 

I had passed the greater part of two morn- 
ings in an endeavor to outwit this fish and 
had been rewarded for my labour. That is 
what I call good fishing. The fish weighed 
222!/2 pounds. 

[124] 



XI 

THE GIANT BASS 




JEWFISH, 450 POUNDS 
Florida 



XI 

THE GIANT BASS 

(Stereopolepis gigas) 

THE giant bass is a monster fish of the 
Pacific Ocean and is found along the edge 
of the forests of kelp that fringe the rocky 
coasts of the islands of southern California 
from the Coronados to the Farallones. 

This fish is often confounded with the 
jewfish (ponnicrops guttatus) but is in 
reality quite a different fish. 

The jewfish frequents warmer water than 
that of the Channel Islands and is to be 
found along the coast of Lower California 
as well as in the waters of southern Florida 
and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is more like 
a giant grouper than a bass, for it is a skin 
fish with small scales underneath the skin 
and has rounded fins and a rounded tail, 
whereas the giant bass resembles the fresh 

[127] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

water small-mouthed bass and is covered 
with scales, is mottled on the belly, and has 
square fins and tail. 

The giant bass grows to a great size. It 
is said that one was landed by a handline in 
the gulf of California that weighed 720 
pounds. 

These fish have been taken at Catalina 
Island for some years on regulation tuna 
tackle, the record fish weighing 493 pounds. 

Although the giant bass cannot rightly be 
classed as a game fish it gives the beginner 
a strenuous sensation and affords good 
training for more exciting sport with the 
rod. 

A proper spot having been selected near 
the edge of the kelp, the boat is anchored 
and the anchor-rope buoyed so that it may 
be thrown overboard when a fish is hooked. 
This is really not necessary unless the fish 
is of great size. I took, from an anchored 
boat, three giant bass last season that would 
average over 250 pounds, in fifty minutes. 
[128] 




RECORD GIANT BASS 
493 pounds. MR. N. A. HOWARD 



THE GIANT BASS 

. \ 

Although the giant bass has been known 
to take a trolling bait he is a bottom feeder, 
so the hook is preferably baited with the 
head of an albacore, for rock cod and other 
small fish that feed on the bottom soon de- 
stroy a soft bait. It is also the custom to 
give a fish sufficient line to allow the bait 
to be well swallowed before striking. 

The giant bass has great strength but 
little staying power. It soon comes to the 
surface belly up if you fight it hard, but if 
you toy with it, it will tow your boat about 
and take hours to land. 

It is claimed that a male fish of this 
variety is seldom hooked and that the 
smallest fish ever taken weighed seventeen 
pounds. 

These fish are good food and find a ready 
sale in the market. 

The jewfish are also well thought of as 
food and it is said that they received their 
vulgar name for the reason that "they will 
take anything." 

[129] 



XII 
THE SAILFISH 



XII 
THE SAILFISH 

(Istiophorus nigricans) 

THE sailfish belongs to the same family as 
the spearfish and is to be found in the warm 
waters of the West Indies and in the Gulf 
stream along the coast of southern Florida. 

The sailfish are long and slim of body 
and not of great weight. A fish that is seven 
feet long will as a rule weigh under fifty 
pounds. 

Their peculiarity is their large indigo 
blue dorsal fin and it is difficult to fathom 
the purpose for which this fin is intended. 
The theory that these fish lie on the surface 
and work to windward with their sail-like fin 
is a romance, nor do they seem to use it 
when swimming beneath the surface. The 
fin houses in a slot and I have never seen 
it in use except when this active fish is jump- 

[133] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

ing about on the surface of the ocean, feed- 
ing, or rapidly travelling seaward; then it 
seems to be used as a rudder or guide, for 
the fish open and close it as they drive and 
jump along from wave to wave. 

"The chief motive and jumping power 
of a fish is in its tail which as it hits the 
water straightens out the curving body and 
shoots it forward, allowing the pectoral and 
ventral fins to strike flat with their full 
power. The caudal, dorsal, and anal or 
vertical fins have steering functions to per- 
form, while the pectoral and ventral pairs 
of fins are chiefly intended for balancing 
purposes. 

Fish would be unable to navigate on an 
even keel without these horizontal fins, for 
the centre of gravity of most fish is toward 
the head or dorsal side. 

To help matters a fish is supplied with 
an air-sack which renders it bulk for bulk 
about the same weight as the water it 
displaces." 

[134] 




SAILFISH 



THE SAILFISH 

The sailfish are most interesting fish to 
hunt after, for they are usually found in 
schools and can often be seen jumping above 
the surface of the sea. 

They are not an easy fish to follow, for 
they are here, there, and everywhere for 
a few moments and then suddenly disappear. 

Although they are a quick moving, agile 
fish, they are delicate biters and it requires 
patience and skill to hook them. At first 
it was supposed to be necessary to bait with 
a silver mullet in order to entice a sailfish 
to take, and they were difficult to hook, for 
it was found that they would mouth this 
large bait for some time before swallowing 
it. It is now the custom to fish for them 
with a long strip of cut-bait, preferably 
mullet, but any cut-bait seems to serve when 
they are taking well. 

It is often possible to see the fish ap- 
proaching, in which case it is wise to allow 
the bait to remain stationary by slowly 
circling with the boat and giving line before 

[135] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

striking, for the fish needs time in which 
to decide whether the morsel presented is 
really to its taste and, if so, may hold it in 
its beak for a time before the hook is in a 
position where it will hold when driven 
home. 

Considering their weight the hooked sail- 
fish fight hard. They jump many times, 
stand on their tails and perform other un- 
expected gymnastic feats, but as they tire, 
their sail-like dorsal fin seems to hamper 
their action. 

As a game fish it has not long been known. 
The first was taken on a rod about twelve 
years ago. Twenty-five sailfish in a day is 
the record at Palm Beach for an exceptional 
day's sport enjoyed by the members of the 
Sailfish Club, and the record fish measured 
a trifle over eight feet in length. 

The following fish story is from the Paris 
Figaro: 



[136] 



THE SAILFISH 



MARINE MONSTER CAPTURED 

A huge sailfish, a fish rarely met with in 
the Atlantic, has been captured by fisher- 
men off Concarneau and towed to that port. 
The fish measures eight metres long and 
four metres in circumference and weighs 
four tons. The fishermen are greatly dis- 
turbed over the presence in the vicinity of 
the fish's female companion, who followed 
her captured lord throughout the whole of 
the night he was being towed to port. 

Figaro, 1914. 

The fish mentioned must have been a 
Tetrapturus amplus, the third and only 
other member of the istiophoridae. It is a 
rare fish and is said to grow to a great size. 
This fish is known in Cuba as the aguja 
casta. 



1137] 



XIII 
THE BONEFISH 

(Albula vulpes) 



THE WILLING FISH AROUND AMBITIOUS WAIT 
FLY TO THE LINE AND FASTEN ON THE BAIT." 

Oppian. 



XIII 

THE BONEFISH 

(Albula vulpes) 

THIS fish must not be confounded with the 
ladyfish (Elops saums). The latter is to 
be found all along both the east and west 
coast of Florida and bears the local names 
of ladyfish, bonefish, bonyfish and big-eyed 
herring, but it has no resemblance to the 
true bonefish either in appearance or in its 
method of fighting, for it is a high and lofty 
jumper, whereas the true bonefish never 
leaves the water when hooked. 

The bonefish (Albula vulpes) has fifteen 
rays on the dorsal fin and eight on the anal 
fin, whereas the ladyfish (Elops saurus) has 
twenty rays on the first dorsal fin and 
thirteen on the anal fin. The latter is a slim 
fish with delicate silver scales and has no 
streaks. 

[141] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The bonefish proper has the appearance 
of a beautiful silvery fish very like the white- 
fish of the lakes; the mouth is small, the 
lips are thick with grinding teeth set in the 
throat. It has large fins and tail, hard 
scales, and is marked with stripes like a 
striped bass. 

Bonefish are not large fish; the largest 
I ever saw weighed twelve pounds, but they 
will average five or six pounds. It is their 
fighting ability that is extraordinary and it 
is away above their weight, for they are the 
strongest and most plucky, as well as the 
most shy fish that swim in the sea. 

The habitat of the true bonefish begins 
at Biscayne Bay, Florida, and extends 
through the Florida Keys. How far south 
they really go is not known but, as natives 
have told me that they are more plentiful 
in the summertime, it would lead one to 
believe that they come from the south. I 
have seen them in the Havana fish market, 
and on one occasion I saw a bonefish taken 

[142] 




BONEFISH 
(Albula vulpes) 



THE BONEFISH 

from a net at the entrance to Havana harbor. 
In the winter and spring months they may 
be found from Bear's Cut to Bahia Honda. 

These fish travel in schools and are to be 
found on the change of the tide in channels 
and on the flats often quite near the shore. 

Along the bars near Caesar's Creek and 
northeast of Indian Key on the east side of 
Lower Matecumbe Channel are good fishing 
grounds but Card Sound is probably the 
best place to find them. 

The fishing is best from flood to full tide 
at which time the fish come in to feed in 
water not more than eight or ten inches in 
depth. They feed on Crustacea and as they 
hunt about the bottom their tails often show 
above the surface. 

In fishing for bonefish the best tackle is a 
two-piece light split bamboo such as is 
known as a Punta Rassa rod, a free-running 
casting reel with four hundred feet or more 
of nine- or twelve- thread line, and two 4/0 
hooks mounted on gut. Although many 
[143] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

fishermen think otherwise, no leader seems 
to be necessary. A four-sided sinker, one 
that will not roll in a tideway and frighten 
the fish, should be placed on the end of the 
line with the hooks above it. You can then, 
by keeping your line taut, feel the slightest 
bite. 

The method of catching these fish is to 
pole a shallow-draft rowboat along the flats 
until you reach the spot where you purpose 
to fish, and to fasten her at bow and stern 
with short sticks that will cast no shadows, 
for the bonefish are very shy and being in 
shallow water the least shadow cast or noise 
made in the boat will frighten them away. 

Your guide should then crush a crayfish 
and allow it to sink to the bottom attached 
to the boat by a bit of cord; if no crayfish 
is handy he may chum with crabmeat, for 
the tide will carry the small pieces along 
and attract the fish. 

Having baited your hooks with soldier- 
crab, hermit-crab, sand-crabs, or sprites you 
[144] 



THE BONEFISH 

cast your bait in the direction of the chum. 
Another method is to bait a chosen spot with 
chum, place your baited hook near by, move 
off some distance paying out line, and 
anchor. Allow the fish to pick up the bait 
and move off before striking, or better still 
by stopping the reel with your thumb allow 
the fish to hook itself. 

It is most interesting to watch the bone- 
fish feeding along with the tide and gradu- 
ally approaching the spot where your bait 
lies. You can see their fins above the sur- 
face, and now and then the tail of a feeding 
fish will appear or the flash of the sun as 
it strikes their silvery sides will catch your 
eye. 

When hooked the bonefish is off with a 
dash for it is the fastest moving fish that 
swims. It will take from two to four hun- 
dred feet of line in its first run, which is 
not infrequently repeated two or three 
times. This is the more remarkable owing 
to the shallow water. When the steady pres- 
[145] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

sure of the rod turns your fish it will circle 
around the boat again and again fighting 
all the time, and if you succeed in bringing 
it alongside it may be lifted into the boat, 
for it has died game of sheer exhaustion. 

As the tarpon is rated the king of the 
large game fish that swim in the sea so 
should the bonefish be classed the king of 
the smaller tribe, for he is game to the very 
last moment. 

The bonefish are supposed to be good 
eating and the taste of the meat is said to 
resemble the shad. I can testify that they 
resemble the latter fish as to the number of 
bones they contain for in that respect they 
are well named. 



[146] 



XIV 
THE STRIPED BASS IN THE PACIFIC 

"BE NOT FORGETFUL TO ENTERTAIN STRANGERS." 



XIV 

THE STRIPED BASS IN THE PACIFIC 

FROM the American seafisherman's stand- 
point the striped bass should be considered 
the most interesting fish that swims in the 
sea, not only on account of its gameness and 
the interesting sport it has afforded but also 
because the science of sea-fishing in Amer- 
ican waters has been developed from striped 
bass fishing. Most scientific sea-tackle is 
based on the knowledge acquired from years 
of striped bass fishing, for it was the first 
seafish that American anglers fished for 
scientifically. Prior to the sixties braided 
lines and large single action reels were in 
use along our coast just as they are along 
the coast of England today, but this anti- 
quated tackle proved to be not sufficiently 
strong or quick enough in action for so agile 
a fish as the striped bass. 
[149] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Three jointed rods of ash or lance- wood 
were used at first, then the Calcutta and 
Japan bamboo rods came into fashion and 
these were developed later into the light, 
two-piece split bamboo rods with guides and 
tips of agate or cornelian of the present day. 

The twisted Cuttyhunk lines and easily- 
running multiplying reels were also invented 
for this bass fishing purpose. The strong 
tackle used for tarpon and tuna fishing has 
been developed until we now have reels that 
will stand the heaviest strain of a thousand 
pound tuna, and will hold a thousand feet 
of twisted linen line that will not break at 
sixty pounds of dead pull. 

The striped bass were very plentiful along 
the Atlantic coast in the sixties and 
seventies, and are still to be found from 
Cape Cod to Chesapeake Bay and even 
farther south where they are known as 
rockfish. 

In the sixties many clubs were formed 
at Newport, West Island, Block Island and 

[150] 



STRIPED BASS IN PACIFIC 

Montauk, and at Cuttyhunk and Pasque 
Islands where the waters were chummed 
with menhaden and where the members 
fished from the rocks and from iron stands 
built on the rocky points that jut out into 
the sea. Many fish were also taken from 
rowboats, the angler casting his bait into 
the white waters of the breaking surf around 
rocks and points where these fish were known 
to trade. 

There is some skill required in casting, 
for when the bait is started on its flight 
through the air the reel pays out the line 
much faster than the weight of the bait can 
carry it off, and if not checked by the thumb, 
the line overruns. 

When casting, the rod is thrown back 
with about two and a half feet of line for 
play; with a rather slow movement of the 
tip forward the bait describing a graceful 
curve drops noiselessly into the water. 

Many large fish were taken in this manner 
every season. For example, Mr. Thomas 

[151] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Winans and his nephew took in three 
months' fishing from stands built for the 
purpose on the rocks in front of his house 
at Newport, Rhode Island, 124 striped bass 
weighing 2,921 pounds, an average of over 
twenty-three pounds, the largest being a fish 
of sixty pounds. I have known my father, 
the late George Griswold, who was a keen 
fisherman, to bring home before breakfast, 
four fish that would weigh over fifty pounds 
each, but that was in the sixties at New 
London where no bass are now to be found. 
Last season (1914) I heard of but three 
large fish taken in the waters off the Eliza- 
beth Islands. They weighed 51, 52, and 
63 pounds. The summer before but one 
large fish was reported. 

/The fishing clubs have been abandoned, 
the stands have been destroyed by the action 
of the sea, and the waters are no longer 
chummed or fished, for the large striped 
bass have become a tradition of the past. 
This has been caused by excessive net fish- 

U52] 



STRIPED BASS IN PACIFIC 

ing, for the bass, being a migratory fish, has 
been and is still netted along the full length 
of the coast both going and coming as well 
as when in southern waters, and the result 
has been fatal. 

In late years a new form of fishing has 
been introduced and special tackle invented 
for the purpose. This is known as beach 
or surf fishing. The fisherman clad in long 
rubber wading-boots, using a specially long 
and springy rod, casts his bait and sinker 
out beyond the combers. About two feet 
above the sinker, which weighs from three 
to five ounces, a leader of triple or quad- 
ruple gut is fastened to the line with a 
double-action swivel. In this manner some 
good fish are still taken every spring and 
autumn along the New Jersey and Long 
Island beaches, and many small bass, known 
as "school bass," are caught trolling in the 
estuaries and along the tide-rips. 

In 1875 an attempt was made to transfer 
the striped bass to the waters of the Pacific 

[153] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Coast. One hundred and fifty fingerlings 
were safely transported across the continent 
and liberated in a slough that emptied into 
San Francisco Bay. This was repeated in 
1880 when two hundred and fifty fingerlings 
were liberated in the same manner. The 
first fish taken in the nets were two fish of 
seven pounds captured in 1880. From this 
time the fish, being protected by good laws, 
increased amazingly both in numbers and 
in size. 

In 1903 two million pounds of striped 
bass were sold in the markets of San Fran- 
cisco and Oakland and the supply seemed 
inexhaustible. 

A striped bass fishing club had been 
formed and although the members attempted 
to preserve the fish for the good sport they 
afforded they failed, for the State Fishing 
Commission was persuaded by the public 
fishermen and the fish dealers to remove all 
restrictions. 

As often happens in such cases the com- 

[154] 




MR. JAMES R. STEERS AND STRIPED BASS 



STRIPED BASS IN PACIFIC 

mission discovered its mistake too late, for 
in a few years' time few fish remained. 

In later years they have renewed the re- 
strictions by closing some of the bay sloughs 
to fishermen and not allowing any fish to 
be taken under three pounds in weight, and 
the fish are now increasing and afford good 
sport. 

In 1903 one and a quarter cents a pound 
was the price in the market but it has risen 
so that twenty cents a pound is now often 
paid, for it took some years to establish the 
fact that the striped bass as a table fish com- 
pares favorably with the salmon and the 
other seafish of the Pacific Ocean. 

The largest fish taken that I have record 
of weighed 62% pounds and I have heard 
of several fish that weighed over fifty 
pounds. 

The method of fishing for them is trolling 
as they seem to be found only in the bay 
and in the sloughs and rivers that empty 
into the bay. 

[155] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Whereas the baits used on the Atlantic 
Coast are menhaden, lobster, eels, shedder 
crabs, and bloodworms, on the Pacific Coast 
the fish are taken on the Wilson spoon, 
which was invented for this purpose, and 
with crab, herring, and a local fish called 
bull-head. 

Little seems to be known about the habits 
of these transplanted fish. They seem to 
remain in the same waters the year around, 
yet most of the large fish are taken in 
November and December. 

It is the most interesting case of the trans- 
planting of seafish that I know of and if the 
restrictions had not been removed the 
striped bass fishing in San Francisco Bay 
would be justly celebrated and there would 
have been no scarcity of striped bass in the 
fish markets of California. 



[156] 



XV 
THE AMERICAN SHAD 



XV 

THE AMERICAN SHAD 

(Alosa sapidissima) 

MANY epicures believe that an American 
shad, freshly taken from a nearby river 
and "planked," is the best of all American 
fishes. 

There was a time in early Colonial days 
when the shad was not esteemed as a food- 
fish, owing to the fact that a similar fish was 
found in the waters of Great Britain, France, 
and Spain where it was considered a poor 
man's fish of inferior quality. 

This fish, the allis shad, Clupea alosa, is 
still found in those waters. It spawns in 
the Severn and used to do so in the Thames. 

It is also found in many rivers that empty 
into the Mediterranean and the Baltic, as 
well as into the Black and Caspian seas. 

It was not long before the quality of the 
American fish was appreciated, for we are 
[159] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

told that at the end of the XVIII Century 
the fishermen on the Connecticut River re- 
fused to sell their shad unless a certain 
number of salmon were purchased as well. 

The shad is so familiar to us now that 
it might be supposed that those who study 
fish would have discovered all there is to 
be known about it, but such is not the case. 

The habits of the fish when ascending 
the rivers, their methods of spawning, the 
incubation of the eggs and the period 
thereof, the habits and growth of the young, 
and the life of the mature fish in fresh water 
are all familiar, but when the fish return 
to salt water they are, like the salmon, lost 
to the ken of man. 

It used to be supposed that they wintered 
in the Gulf of Mexico where there is 
abundant food and that in January they 
journeyed slowly northward, dropping de- 
tachments at the mouths of various rivers. 
It has been discovered that this migration 
does not take place. 

[160] 



THE AMERICAN SHAD 

In the first place it was noticed that shad 
often appear in Northern waters before they 
are found in those of the lower latitude. 
It was further discovered that when man 
began the artificial propagation of the shad 
in a certain river, that stream, and no other, 
was benefited. 

The theory now is that when the shad 
leave the rivers they dwell somewhere in 
the depths of the ocean opposite and not far 
distant from the river in which they were 
hatched, and that they do not begin to 
ascend the rivers in the spring before the 
temperature of the river water approaches 
60 degrees. 

It is not generally known that for several 
years some hundreds of barrels of fine shad 
have been netted in the deep waters adjacent 
to Mount Desert Rock, Maine, in the month 
of August. These fish are taken to North- 
west Harbor and shipped to the Boston 
market. 

This would lead one to believe that the 
1161] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

theory that these fish dwell in the deep 
waters off the coast when they leave the 
rivers is a correct one. 

In the early history of this country nearly 
every river along the Atlantic coast was in- 
vaded by immense schools, but through in- 
creasing fishing and owing to the obstruc- 
tions in some rivers, the supply gradually 
diminished until some thirty years ago the 
Federal and State governments began hatch- 
ing the shad artificially, with such success 
that the supply of fish has kept pace with 
the ever-increasing demand. 

Shad are found along our Atlantic coast 
from Florida to Newfoundland and are most 
abundant from North Carolina to Long 
Island. 

The chief shad-rivers are the Potomac, 
Susquehanna, and Delaware and, although 
the fish has received as many vernacular 
names as there are rivers that it enters, it 
is always the same fish. 

The hickory shad is found in the waters 
[162] 



THE AMERICAN SHAD 

of Chesapeake Bay and seldom weighs more 
than three pounds. 

The Alabama shad, found in the Gulf of 
Mexico about Pensacola, is a small variety 
and, like the hickory, is inferior food to the 
common shad. 

The alewife, wall-eyed herring, or gas- 
pereau, is also a near relative of the shad. 

During the spawning season the fish are 
very susceptible to cold. If after migration 
begins there is a heavy fall of snow the 
melting of which lowers the river tempera- 
ture, there is an immediate decrease in the 
catch of the fishermen. It is probable that 
at first maturity the shad returns to the river 
whence it originated but that after that it 
may join the spawning shoals of other rivers. 

The van of the spring run consists chiefly 
of bucks or male shad, and soon after the 
roes or females arrive with a liberal admix- 
ture of belated bucks. 

The spawning grounds of the shad are 
at the headwaters of the main river. If the 
[163] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

water temperature is suitable it takes from 
6 to 10 days for hatching. The eggs are 
small and semi-buoyant. The fish are very 
prolific. A single roe has been known to 
furnish 150,000 eggs. 

There is an appalling loss of eggs and 
young fish, as they are devoured by numer- 
ous enemies, and it is estimated that of all 
the young fish hatched not more than a 
dozen from any pair of mature fish reach 
the ocean in safety. 

To counteract this wastage, artificial 
propagation was undertaken with success. 
In the spring of 1900, 241,050,000 young 
shad were planted in the rivers of the 
Atlantic coast. 

The shad is the most valuable river fish 
of the eastern coast. The Chinook salmon 
and the cod are the only fish of this con- 
tinent that exceed it in value. In 1896 the 
catch numbered 13,145,395 fish weighing 
50,847,967 pounds and worth $1,656,580 
to the fishermen. 

[164] 



THE AMERICAN SHAD 

At various times between 1871 and 1880 
shad fry were planted in the Sacramento 
River in California and in the Columbia 
River. They have thrived so well that they 
are now to be found from San Diego to Fort 
Wrangle, a distance of 2,000 miles, and 
are most abundant in the markets of San 
Francisco. 

The shad cannot be rightly called a game 
fish, yet it has been taken with an artificial 
fly. Published statements of such catches 
are often made but the fish captured gen- 
erally prove to be the hickory shad or the 
alewife, both of which will take artificial 
flies as well as bait. 

There are conditions where the true shad 
will rise to a fly. Chief among them is where 
there is an obstruction in the river above 
which it is impossible for them to pass. On 
reaching such an obstruction they swim 
frantically about and seem to take the lure 
in savage desperation. 

In the early summer it is the custom to 

U65] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

fish for them below Holyoke dam on the 
Connecticut River and at McCalPs Ferry 
dam on the Susquehanna, but the fish are 
tender-mouthed and not very game. 



[166] 



XVI 

THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH 



XVI 
THE WEIGHT OH GAME FISH 

Tarpon 
(Megalops atlanticus) 

MR. WILLIAM H. WOOD, the pioneer of 
tarpon fishing, who in 1885 landed the first 
tarpon, was the originator of the formula 
for estimating the weight of a tarpon when 
first taken from the water. 

Girth 2 X length 
' BOO =W6tgh * 

This formula gives the approximate 
weight of almost every kind of fish of no 
matter what shape or size, excepting the 
sunfish (Molci). 

Probably not more than twelve tarpon 
have been taken that weighed 200 pounds or 
more. 

[169] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The record fish for an amateur in Florida 
is still, as far as I know, Edward Vom Hofe's 
tarpon taken at Captiva Pass on April 30th, 
1898, weighing 210 pounds and measuring 
6 feet 11 inches in length and 45 inches in 
girth. 

My best fish measured 7 feet 2 inches 
but, being very thin, weighed only 187 
pounds. 

Doctor Howe is said to have landed a 
tarpon at Tampico, Mexico, that tipped the 
scales at 223 pounds. 

I saw a tarpon at Miami, Florida, on May 
17th, 1904, that had been taken near Tea 
Table by Charlie Thompson, a professional 
fisherman, and was told it weighed 224 
pounds. 

The tarpon is an elusive fish yet at times 
great scores have been made. 

Mr. L. C. Murphy took 25 tarpon in one 
day's fishing at Aransas Pass, and Mr. B. W. 
Crowinshield accomplished a like feat at 
Boca Grande. 

[170] 



THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH 

On one of my trips to Cuba I fished the 
flood tides for three consecutive days and 
"jumped" 54 tarpon, and on another occa- 
sion played 14 small fish in one hour's 
fishing. 

Mr. and Mrs. Magill, on a cruise along 
the west coast of Florida in the spring of 
1915, captured 176 tarpon that weighed 
16,377 pounds. The heaviest fish weighed 
196% pounds, eleven weighed over 180 
each, and forty over 150 pounds. This is 
the most extraordinary fishing I ever heard 
of. 

I find that in the long run the fish will 
average 100 pounds. 

There were 785 tarpon weighed at 
Useppa Island in 1917 and but 23 of them 
were 150 pounds or more in weight. 

It is now customary to free the hooked 
fish when possible, which is not always the 
most humane action, for a tired tarpon is 
easy prey for the ever-watchful piratical 
shark. 

[171] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The Striped Bass 
(Roccus lineatus) 

THE striped bass have almost disappeared 
as game fish. Being migratory fish and 
traveling in schools, they have been so de- 
pleted by excessive netting that it is now 
difficult to obtain large specimens. 

Jordan relates that: "At one haul of the 
net in Albemarle Sound 820 bass weighing 
37,000 pounds were taken. Among them 
were many of 65 pounds, many of 85, and 
a few of 90 pounds." 

The largest striped bass of authentic 
record that I personally know of, taken with 
rod and reel, weighed 70 pounds. This fish 
was taken by Mr. William Post at Graves 
Point, Newport, R. I., on July 5th, 1873. 
It was a long, thin, and emaciated fish that 
would have weighed 100 pounds in normal 
condition. 

I am told that Mr. Charles Church landed 
[172] 



THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH 

a bass a few years since near Cutty Hunk 
that weighed 76 pounds. 

The largest average catch of bass that 
I know of was ten fish 58, 56, 54, 53, 51, 
49, 46, 42 and 36 pounds respectively an 
average of 49% pounds. This catch was 
made at Graves Point by Mr. Seth Barton 
French and Mr. John Whipple on August 
21st, 1881, between 6 and 11 A.M., in a 
heavy sea and on a rising tide. 

Mr. Thomas Winans and his nephew took 
in three months' fishing, from stands built 
on the rocks in front of his house at New- 
port, 124 bass that weighed 2,921 pounds, 
the largest being a fish of 60 pounds. 

Catches of bass weighing from 85 to over 
100 pounds each are said to have been made 
in the Chesapeake seine-fishing. 

The striped bass was unknown in the 
waters of the Pacific Ocean until 1875 when 
the first fingerlings were liberated in San 
Francisco Bay. They have prospered there. 
"Statistics gathered for 1900 show 1,251,- 
[173] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

000 pounds in the San Francisco markets 
in that year." The largest fish taken on rod 
and reel weighed 62^/2 pounds. 

The artificial propagation of the striped 
bass has never been a pronounced success 
owing to the difficulty of obtaining the ripe 
male fish. 



[174] 



THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH 

The Salmon 

THE largest salmon I ever saw was a Tyee 
taken on a handline at Campbell River, 
Vancouver Island, weighing 72 pounds. The 
Tyee are said to weigh over 100 pounds, 
yet "no fish weighing 80 pounds had ever 
been brought to the cannery at Valdez 
Island." 

I took 2,179 pounds of salmon in fifteen 
days in Discovery Strait at Campbell River, 
including 47 Tyee that averaged 43 pounds. 
The largest fish weighed 60 pounds. 

In Canada the heaviest salmon I know of 
was the 54 pound fish taken in the Cas- 
capedia River. 

The Newfoundland record is a fish of 
4>Il/2 pounds from the Codroy River in 
1910. 

Between 1880 and 1919, 25,824 salmon 

were taken by the members of the Risti- 

gouche Salmon Club in Canada. These fish 

weighed 456,257 pounds and averaged 

[175] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

17.16 pounds. Three thousand seven hun- 
dred and six of them tipped the scales at 
over 25 pounds each. 

The record British salmon was supposed 
to be the 84 pound fish taken from the Tay, 
but a few years ago the Scottish Fisheries 
Board expert reported that "an illicitly 
caught salmon had been taken in the Forth 
that weighed 103 pounds." He explained 
that "the matter was kept secret because the 
possession of the fish was fraught with a 
certain amount of danger to the captors." 



[176] 



THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH 

Catalina Island Records 

POUNDS 

Swordfish (Xypias gladius) ..... 463 
Spearfish or Marlin (Tetrapturus 

mitsukurii) ............... 372 

Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) ...... 251 

Giant Bass (Stereoplepis gigas) . . 493 
Yellowtail (Seriola doTsalis) .... 6(fl/2 

White Sea Bass (Cynoscian hip- 

purus) .................. 

Albacore (Germo alalunga) .... 



The greatest number of tuna taken in one 
day was Mr. Boschen's catch of 13 fish 
weighing 985 pounds. 

My best day, with a plain reel without a 
drag, was 5 tuna that weighed 491 pounds. 

Only 20 swordfish have been taken. 



[177] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Atlantic Tuna 

Mr. J. K. L. Ross landed a tuna at St. 
Ann's Bay, C. B., on August 28th, 1911, 
that weighed 680 pounds twenty-four hours 
later at Sydney. It measured 8 feet 10 
inches in length by 6 feet 3 inches in girth. 

Mr. L. D. Mitchell landed a tuna a few 
years later that weighed 710 pounds. This 
fish was taken near Medway, Nova Scotia. 



[178] 



XVII 
SANTA CATALINA ISLAND 



XVII 
SANTA CATALINA ISLAND 

THE fishing season of 1917 at Catalina 
Island was a most successful one. Great 
schools of tuna made their appearance and 
afforded much sport. Three hundred and 
sixty-two tuna were taken during the season 
and the largest fish weighed 136^ pounds. 

Mr. Boschen landed 13 fish weighing 985 
pounds in one day's fishing. 

Fishing with the assistance of a kite was 
thoroughly tested by two sportsmen who 
fished side by side for some weeks in the 
same boat. One trolled in the usual manner 
and the other used a kite when the wind 
served. The former did not have a single 
strike while the latter landed 33 tuna. 

On light-tackle nine-thread line, the 

largest tuna taken weighed 66 pounds, but 

the greatest feat was performed by Mr. J. W. 

Jump, who landed a 57-pound tuna in 30 

[181] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

minutes with a six-ounce rod and a six-thread 
line. 

The swordfish record was broken by Mr. 
Parsons, who captured a swordfish weigh- 
ing 422 pounds after a battle of over six 
hours. This record was broken later when 
Mr. Boschen brought a fish home that 
weighed 463 pounds. This fish succumbed 
after a fight that lasted but one hour and a 
half, which fact was explained by a post- 
mortem examination which showed that the 
bait had been gorged and that during the 
struggle the fish's heart had been torn by 
the hook which had caused an internal 
hemorrhage and death. 

I visited San Clemente and was again 
greatly impressed by the agility of the 
spearfish. 

Although they did not arrive off the island 
until late in September, they afforded great 
sport. There were seventy-two spearfish 
taken under Club Rules, sixteen fish being 
taken by one boat in four days' fishing. 
[182] 




RECORD SWORDFISH 

463 pounds 
MR. W. C. BOSCHEN 



SANTA CATALINA ISLAND 

Mr. Pollitz landed the largest spearfish 
of the season 326 pounds. This fish 
jumped forty-eight times and fought for one 
hour and forty minutes. 

I discovered that these high and lofty 
jumping fish take so much out of themselves 
by their exertions that if you can persuade 
your boatman to go to them after their acro- 
batic performance is over, they can then 
and there be safely gaffed. In this manner 
I landed a fish that weighed 180 pounds in 
twenty minutes. This fish had jumped 
thirty-five times and was exhausted. 

There were several spearfish taken by Mr. 
Jump on light tackle, a nine-thread line and 
a six-ounce tip; the heaviest fish weighed 
185 pounds. 

It is a strange fact that sea-fish fight less 
and lead more readily on light tackle than 
if you fight them hard with heavy tackle. 
The harder you fight them, the harder they 
seem to fight back. 

The chief trouble with light tackle for 

[183] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

spearfish is to induce the boatman to follow 
the fish so that the line from the fish to the 
rod leads straight, and not by cutting cor- 
ners attempt to gain on the spearfish, for 
in the latter course the line bags and will 
not stand the strain of being pulled side- 
ways through the water. 

It is difficult to persuade the boatman in 
the excitement of the moment to manoeuvre 
his launch in the opposite direction to that 
in which the fish is travelling, although it 
is the only way to straighten the line and 
remove the strain on the slack that is being 
pulled through the water faster than it can 
be reeled in. 

Light tackle is all very well with a free- 
jumping fish, but one that is foul-hooked, 
seldom jumps and fights like a shark, in 
which case it becomes a difficult proposition 
for a light rod and line. 

A success with light tackle depends on 
when and in what waters the fishing is done. 
At Catalina it is generally safe to decide 
[184] 




SPEARFISH OR MARLIN 
179 and 132 pounds 



SANTA CATALINA ISLAND 

what weight of fish you will fish for without 
being surprised by a mackerel shark or a 
fifty-pound amberjack, as often happens in 
Florida. 

In the latter case light tackle would be 
of no more service than it would be at 
Catalina if one-hundred-and-fifty-pound 
tuna were taking freely. 

The charm of fishing in the waters of the 
Channel Islands of California is the fact 
that the tuna and yellowtail run in schools 
of an average weight, and a fisherman may 
suit his tackle to the fish that are running 
at the time. 



[185] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 
1918 

THAT season was in some respects even 
better than that of 1917. 

No swordfish (Xiphias gladius) were 
taken and few were seen. 

One hundred and fifty-three spearfish 
(TetraptUTus mitsukurii) were weighed in. 

Twelve weighed over 200 pounds each, 
the largest 328 pounds and the smallest 66 
pounds. 

Six hundred and thirty-nine tuna were 
landed, 19 of which weighed over 100 
pounds each, while the largest fish tipped 
the scales at 149^ pounds. 

Nineteen dolphin were brought in one 
day and the best day for yellowtail yielded 
290 fish. 

All these fish were either consumed at 
Avalon or sent to the market at San Pedro. 



[186] 



SANTA CATALINA 

X 

1919 

THIS was a great tuna year. There were 
911 tuna taken during the season, 42 of 
which were over 100 pounds in weight. 

The heaviest fish weighed 152%. pounds. 
Mr. James W. Jump broke the light tackle 
record by landing a tuna weighing 145% 
pounds. 

No swordfish (Xipias gladius) were taken 
during the season. 

One hundred and fourteen marlin or 
spearfish (Tetrapturis mitsukurii) were 
brought to the scales, 16 of which weighed 
over 200 pounds. The heaviest fish was 
taken by Mr. A. W. Hooper and weighed 298 
pounds. 

I was fortunate enough to land six spear- 
fish in fifteen days that averaged 207% 
pounds. 



[187] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

1920 

THERE were 548 tuna taken during the 
season, 89 of which were over 100 pounds 
in weight. 

The heaviest fish weighed 156^4 pounds. 

Three swordfish (Xipias gladius) were 
landed, the heaviest fish weighed 418 
pounds. 

160 marlin or spearfish (Tetrapturis 
mitsukurii) were brought to the scales, 6 
weighed over 300 pounds and 22 over 200 
pounds. Mr. J. A. Coxe landed the record 
marlin of 372 pounds. 



[188] 



XVIII 

THE FISHES OF SOUTHERN 
FLORIDA 



XVIII 

THE FISHES OF SOUTHERN 
FLORIDA 

THE Tarpon glides along serene 
As though to polish his scales of sheen; 
For no silver ever had such glint, 
Not even coin fresh from the mint. 
This royal, bright, and beauteous thing 
Is sometimes called the Silver King. 

The Sailfish with his fin so blue, 
Jumps from the sea as though he flew, 
He flits along from wave to wave 
As though it were his life to save, 
His dorsal fin with black spots is shot 
And it closes neatly in a slot. 

The Mackerel tribe is always Spanish, 
The common kind they seem to banish, 
But others of the breed are not taboo 
Such as the Cero and the gay Wahoo. 

[191] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The Kingfish mated with his striped relation 
Has added Cero to the finny nation. 

The Bluefish bold and a great fighter 
Is found off shore to "Lignumviter." 
A jumper, biter swift is he 
That trades about from Key to Key. 
They always seem to be in schools 
With teeth as sharp as keen-edged tools. 

The Jackfish and the Amberjacks 
Are wide in girth with narrow backs, 
They tug and pull to beat the band, 
And when of size are hard to land. 
They are poor eating, but not so 
Their blood relation the Pompano. 

The Barracouta, with teeth on jaws, 
Is a pirate fish that breaks all laws; 
When hooked he jumps into the air, 
And fights by all foul means or fair. 
As food he is not of the best 
And is only eaten at Key West. 

[192] 



THE FISHES OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA 

The Kingfish is a hungry thing 
And ever ready at the bait to spring. 
When once hooked he jumps clean out 
And shows his tail and pointed snout. 
The west wind is his best for biting, 
The northern Kingfish is a Whiting. 

The Redfish is the Channel bass 
And is not found at reef or pass 
From Gilbert's Bar to Romano, 
For him the water must be just so. 
His body is bronze, a coat of mail, 
And there is a black spot on his tail. 

The Sergeantfish is a salt sea pike. 
His two stripes on both sides alike 
Give him his title and his rank. 
They're found in bayous near the bank, 
In rivers and in many brooks; 
They also bear the name of Snooks. 

The Dolphin in the ocean spray 
Is polka-dotted and in bright array; 
[1931 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

In the warm waters he loves to roam, 
And in the gulf stream makes his home. 
When once on board his colours fade 
And he becomes a piece of jade. 

Bonefish play at seek and hide 
Along sandbars on the new flood tide, 
They show their tails when hunting fleas 
And swim along with grace and ease. 
Bonefish are shy and gentle biters, 
But when once hooked are champion 
fighters. 

The Ladyfish and the Seatrout 

Are to be caught if you hunt about. 

In the Indian River they are still found 

And in great schools did once abound, 

But now they are not often seen, 

Are few in number and far between. 

The Groupers who on the bottom dwell 
Quite undisturbed by the ocean swell 
Are of three sorts, gray, brown and red, 
[194] 



THE FISHES OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA 

Long-jawed with more mouth than head. 

No sea cook can be ever prouder 

Than when he serves one up as chowder. 

The different Snappers which swim in droves 
Are found by shore and near mangroves; 
They are Muttonfish out on the reef, 
At least that is my best belief. 
The luscious oyster is their favorite food 
But they snap at small fry when in the mood. 

The Sawfish with his teeth on snout, 

Is a brigand and a roustabout. 

With hide as tough as leather skins, 

Has on his back two dorsal fins. 

He strikes with saw and it never matters, 

What he can't eat he always scatters. 

The Jewfish giant of the fishes 
Is not a gourmet as to his dishes; 
When hungry and when in the mood, 
He is no stickler as to his food, 
[195] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Hence the epithet of his funny calling, 
For Jewfish is a name appalling. 

The Shark is the very greatest thief 
That ever swam along the reef; 
He loafs along from hour to hour 
To see what prey he may devour. 
He swims about with dorsal out 
And has a Pilot for a scout. 



[196] 



XIX 
THE SEA FISH OF CALIFORNIA 



XIX 

THE SEA FISH OF CALIFORNIA 

XIPIAS GLADIUS is a class alone 
And the only swordfish that is known, 
Yet 'tis Avalon's most dear wish 
To confound him with the Spearfish. 
It seems an insult to the Creator 
As well as to the nomenclator. 

His snout is flat just like a sword, 
His dorsal fin stiff as a board; 
Strong pectoral fins give him the power 
To fight the fisherman hour by hour; 
Though gaffed he is not yours as hoped 
Until his tail is safely roped. 

The Spearfish, gamest of the game, 
Has also Marlin for a name, 
His snout is round just like a spike, 
His stripes are purple, all alike; 
[199] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Beautiful in the sea is he, 
As graceful as a fish can he. 

When once hooked he jumps about, 
Shakes his head and waves his snout; 
He dances hornpipes on his tail, 
And leaves the seafoam as his trail. 
A jumper, fighter strong is he, 
The king of game-fish of the sea. 

The Tuna is a learned fish, 
For schooling seems his fondest wish. 
The Yellow-fin calls Japan his home, 
The Blue-back in all seas does roam. 
You can always tell them by their fins, 
And as for speed, the blue one wins. 

There was a time when they were bold, 
And they would strike and take a hold 
Of any bait that was trolled along, 
But now they sing a different song; 
The bait to a kite-string tied must be 
And skimmed along the tumbling sea. 
[200] 



THE SEA FISH OF CALIFORNIA 

Of different sizes and by the score 
You see great schools of Albacore; 
The Japs entice them with live bait 
And hunt them early morn and late. 
These fish are promptly cooked and canned 
And shipped away throughout the land. 

The Barracoutas of the Pacific 
Are fishes that are quite specific. 
They don't resemble in the least 
Their so-called namesake in the East; 
The Atlantic fish of the same name 
Is somewhat larger and far more game. 

The Yellowtail and the Rockbass 
Are found near kelp and long seagrass; 
The kelp to them is house and shelter 
Where they retire, a-helter-skelter, 
When chased by larger fish and Shark, 
For there it's safe and cool and dark. 

The Whitebass in the spring comes round, 
At other times he is not found. 
He fights upon the surface best, 

[201] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

Is full of life and full of zest; 
In the south he is of great size 
And to a trolling bait will rise. 

The Giant Bass is no Hebrew, 
But is oft confounded with the Jew. 
One can always tell him by his scales, 
And Jewfish have round fins and tails. 
They both do grow to a great size 
The fins and tails will put you wise. 

In the wide ocean called Pacific, 

The Salmon tribe is so prolific 

That they provide the State with mammon 

That would be lost without the Salmon. 

Tyee, Sockeye, Humpback, and Coho 

Are of the family of Salmo. 

The Sharks of many kinds do swarm 
In the blue water that is so warm. 
They swim along and show their fins, 
Looking for trouble and full of sins; 
They are the scavengers of the sea 
And deserve no mercy from you or me. 
[202] 



XX 

OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 



XX 

OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

ANGLING 

THE charms of angling are anticipation and 
solitude. It takes much time and practice to 
become proficient, and you must be keen 
and quick and have great delicacy of touch 
to become a good angler. It cultivates 
quickness, self-control, and above all things, 
patience. 

Angling is a sporting fight between you 
and the fish and, as no two families of fishes 
fight alike, you are matching your brains 
and cleverness against the ingenuity of the 
fish. 

It also cultivates a habit of observation 

which is so necessary if one would enjoy life 

and nature, and it takes one to beautiful 

rivers at nature's most attractive season 

[205] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

when there is so much that is interesting to 
observe both in bird and in plant life. 

The solitude on the Canadian rivers is 
broken by the pleasant sound of running 
waters, the note of a king-fisher or the drum- 
ming of a partridge, and the typical clink- 
ing sound of iron-shod canoe poles as a 
canoe is driven up stream. 

GAME FISH 

From the standpoint of a fisherman I 
divide game fish into two classes namely, 
the forked-tailed and the square-tailed fishes. 

The former travel great distances, swim 
rapidly, and are nearly all surface feeders 
and strong surface fighters. 

The latter dwell on the bottom, are bot- 
tom feeders, and generally have a local 
habitat. 

The forked tail has been given to the 
swordfish, tarpon, bonefish, bluefish, spear- 
fish, dolphin, and all the pampano, herring, 
and mackerel tribes. 

[206] 



Map of 
GRAND CASCAPEDIA RIVER. 



(Middle Camp 



L New Dureen 




CHALEURS HAY 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

The tail is forked for the purpose of leav- 
ing a free space directly behind the axis of 
the body where the stream-lines following 
the sides of the moving fish converge. This 
means ease and speed in swimming. A 
round or square tail is a drag for it fills this 
space. 

The whales and porpoises have horizontal 
forked tails which they move up and down, 
for they rise to the surface when swimming. 

Among the square-tailed fish I classify the 
bass family, the snappers and groupers, and 
the salmon family. 

The square-tailed fish are slow swimmers 
and seldom travel far. Those that do, such 
as the drumfish and the striped bass, pro- 
ceed at a leisurely pace. The latter during 
their yearly pilgrimages travel and feed so 
close inshore that it has been possible by 
netting to almost destroy what was at one 
time one of the most numerous of our game 
fishes. 

The forked-tail fish journey great dis- 
[207] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

tances and often at a high rate of speed, 
seeking food or a change of water temper- 
ature, and do not hibernate as do some of 
the square-tailed fish. 

The square tail of the salmon is one proof, 
to my mind, that when they leave a river 
they do not journey far but dwell in the 
deep sea near the mouth of their summer 
home. 

Although the seafood of the salmon when 
off the mouth of a river is known to be her- 
ring and the like, their square tails would 
lead one to believe that they are bottom 
feeders and that they feed leisurely and well, 
which would account for the fresh-run fish's 
superabundance of fat. 

According to Alexander Agassiz the pel- 
agic animals are very short-lived but they 
reproduce marvelously. Some of the Cope- 
pods, which are minute crustaceans, have 
no less than thirty generations in three 
weeks. 

[208] 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

As they are constantly dying there is a 
shower of food falling over the ocean floor 
which joins the food that comes from the 
littoral regions. It is stated that there is a 
thick broth of food over wide areas of sea 
bottom which can readily be obtained with 
very little effort on the part of the fishes. 

The progress of large bodies of salmon 
in the sea, judged by the catches in nets at 
different stations, is said to be four or five 
miles a day. They only travel in the day- 
time; no salmon are taken in the nets at 
night. 

After entering the river, these conditions 
are changed for then the salmon travel 
mostly by night. 

Previous to entering the pure fresh water 
they remain for some time in the estuaries, 
moving in and out on the tides and becom- 
ing gradually acclimatized to the change 
from salt to fresh water. 

A considerable portion of the salmon that 
spawn before the rivers freeze return to the 

[209] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

sea the same autumn, but a large number 
winter in the rivers and come down stream 
in the spring as kelts or "slinks." 

The French Canadians call these fish 
lingards a corruption of "long gars." 

The kelts that descend the rivers in the 
autumn are dark in colour and slimy, 
whereas those that leave in the spring, 
having molted, are bright fish. This, at 
least, is the present day theory. 

It is supposed that the grilse are four 
or five years old and that their rate of growth 
after that period is from four to six pounds 
a year. 

A salmon was caught at West Baldwins 
half a mile from Channel Head, Newfound- 
land, by Louis Sheaves on June 5, 1919, 
with a silver tag attached to its dorsal fin 
marked A1124. The fish when caught 
measured 40 inches in length, 23 inches in 
girth and weighed 26 pounds. R. Mosdell, 
the station master at Port aux Basques, ob- 
tained the fin tag and submitted it to the 
1210] 



8 

I 




OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

Game and Inland Fisheries Board for inquiry 
as to where the fish had been liberated. 

On July 15 he received a message from 
the Game Board stating that the fish was 
liberated from the salmon hatchery at Mar- 
garie, Nova Scotia, November, 1917; at that 
time it measured 34 inches in length and 
weighed 12 pounds. 

This dislodges the theory that salmon al- 
ways frequent the same water yearly, and 
also shows a remarkable growth within the 
given period. 

This fish in nineteen months grew in 
length 6 inches, being an average of almost 
an inch every three months, and gained an 
average of three-quarters of a pound in 
weight per month for the same period. 

THE AGE OF SALMON 

According to Malloch it is easy not only 
to tell the age of an Atlantic salmon by 
its scales but also to follow its journeyings 
and occupations through life. 
[211] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

As the rings on a cross-section of a tree 
show the tree's yearly growth, so do the 
rings on a salmon's scale determine the age 
of a salmon. 

The scales of a parr hatched in March 
when a year old have sixteen rings, and 
thirty-two rings can be counted after the 
expiration of another twelve months. 

Two months or so later the parr becomes 
a smolt and goes down to the sea and may 
return the following May or June as a grilse 
with fifty-two rings, more or less. 

If the rings on a fish's scales number less 
than fifty-eight it is a grilse, if more than 
that number show it is a salmon. 

All the grilse and salmon that enter a 
river are supposed to spawn and those that 
remain long in fresh water have the edges 
of their scales broken off. When the kelt- 
grilse and the kelt-salmon return to the sea 
and begin to feed, a ring forms around these 
broken parts and these rings increase in 
[212] 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

number according to the time the fish re- 
main in the sea. 

In the Grand Cascapedia River a grilse 
is seldom seen or taken. This may account 
for the great average size of the salmon in 
that river. These fish may pass their grilse 
term of life in the sea, where, with good 
food and without the fatigue of spawning, 
they grow in weight accordingly, and enter 
the river later on as full-fledged salmon. 
Few salmon are taken in the Grand Cas- 
capedia under 20 pounds in weight, and 
it was there that Dr. S. Weir Mitchell took 
in 1896 40 salmon that averaged 28 
pounds. 

In order to determine the time the salmon 
remain in the sea it is necessary to count 
the rings from the broken or uneven lines 
outwards. No rings are formed on the 
scales in fresh water. 

The great majority of salmon are said to 
spawn but once although some spawn twice 
or more often. 

[213] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

It is claimed that salmon, during the 
period of their stay in a river and after hav- 
ing fulfilled their mission, lose twenty-five 
per cent of their weight. 

The very large salmon, those from 
forty to fifty pounds, are cock-fish, gen- 
erally old bachelors, gourmets and gour- 
mands that have remained in the sea where 
the food is good and plentiful rather than 
undertake the up-stream struggle with per- 
haps little or no food, and with domestic 
troubles awaiting them at their journey's 
end. 

For example, the 61 pound cock-salmon 
taken in the Tay in Scotland on July 13th, 
1902, proved by its scales to be 7 years and 
2 months old, and the scales also showed 
that it was this salmon's first return from 
the sea. 

It is claimed that as far as rivers are con- 
cerned the life of an Atlantic salmon is 8 
years. No fish have been taken of a greater 
age. 

[214] 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 
MODERN SALMON FISHING 

By modern salmon fishing I mean the 
present-day form of fishing from a canoe 
on Canadian rivers, for in Scotland, where a 
man must wade or fish from the bank and 
is often obliged to cast a very long line, the 
modern light rods would be of poor service. 

In canoe fishing the sport is made easy, 
for after a fish is hooked the canoe may be 
moved about and you are quickly placed 
below your fish, or should the fish take down 
stream you may follow him on his mad 
career. 

In this form of fishing you seldom have 
to cast a fly more than twenty-five yards. 
The length and weight of a rod depend on 
the distance it is necessary to cast a fly, for 
after hooking a fish it is a very easy matter 
to end the struggle in short order if you un- 
derstand handling fish, for a fresh run 
salmon, though active, is not a strong fight- 
ing fish for its weight. 

Some of the old-time anglers still use 
[215] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

the English wooden rods of sixteen feet or 
more in length, for they maintain that they 
are superior to the modern light split bam- 
boo grilse rod. Their theory is that the lat- 
ter is too quick in action and loses many 
striking fish, which it should not do if the 
rod is handled with the light hand that it is 
not possible to employ with a heavy rod. I 
find the green-heart rod is superior in a 
strong wind, for it has more power. 

The wooden rod, though more brutal when 
you first give the fish the butt, is not nearly 
so killing, for every fibre in the bamboo is 
alive and at work all the time. 

The modern split bamboo grilse rods now 
in use are fourteen feet, more or less, in 
length and are easy to handle for they are 
well balanced and weigh from 16 to 24 
ounces. 

My advice to a beginner using these rods 

is to banish the idea that the salmon rod is a 

two-handed rod, and always to bear in mind 

the fact that the right arm and the rod are 

[216] 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

as one. No amount of energy applied to the 
rod by the left hand will communicate itself 
to the line. The left hand is employed as a 
help in holding the rod, in fact is simply a 
rod-rest. 

By grasping the rod firmly with the right 
hand at the upper end of the cork handle, 
with the thumb along the rod, the energy of 
the right arm is communicated to the rod. 
You cannot use the full spring of the rod 
unless it is firmly held. This may not be 
necessary for a short cast but for a long 
line it is imperative. 

After lifting the line from the water for 
the back cast a flip of the left thumb to the 
butt at the right moment is all that is neces- 
sary, the forward cast being made with the 
right hand only. 

ANGLING FOR SALMON WITH A 



"DOPED" FLY 



I have for years been a great believer in 
the acute smelling powers of fish. These 
[217] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

powers I have often tested when seafishing. 

If on a still day you see the dorsal fin of 
a leisurely swimming shark on the surface 
of the ocean, you may always inspire the 
shark with new life by pouring fresh fish 
blood into the sea. The shark will at 
once become alert and begin to hunt the 
blood-scent until he finally discovers its 
source. 

Then again, when anchored and fishing 
for bonefish, after having distributed the 
crab-meat chum, you will often see a school 
of bonefish hunting the smell of the chum 
as a pack of hounds hunt the cold scent of a 
fox, quartering to the right and to the left 
until they eventually hit the line and find 
what they are looking for. 

Knowing that trappers in the northern 
woods lead their prey to their baited traps 
with "charm-oil," I conceived the idea that 
fish might be enticed in a like manner. 

This was difficult in seafishing as the fric- 
tion caused by trolling a bait through the 
[2181 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

water destroyed the odor of the "charm-oil," 
but in fly-fishing I found it quite simple. 

My first attempt was when fishing on a 
salmon river in Canada. The river was low 
and the water quite clear. I had been fish- 
ing over a salmon of fair size that could 
readily be seen lying on the bottom close to 
a large stone. 

After trying different flies as well as dif- 
ferent sizes of flies with no result, I handed 
the rod to my canoeman, an old and very 
experienced fisherman, and told him to have 
a try. He used all his powers of persuasion 
to entice the fish but with no success. 

As he handed me my rod I said: "Now 
I shall show you how to take that fish." 

I anointed the fly he had been fishing with 
by placing a drop of "charm-oil" on the 
hackle of the fly. On my second cast I rose, 
hooked, and landed a 24-pound salmon. 
This was not chance for it happened on sev- 
eral occasions in a like manner, rising fish 
that would not look at an "un-doped" fly. 
[219] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

The last day on the river that season 
found me, after three days of heavy rain, 
stormbound at a camp up stream, with all 
the experts insisting that no fishing was 
possible. 

The water had risen seven inches since 
eight o'clock in the morning, and three feet 
since the rain began, and it was still rising 
at one when we started down stream. 

A heavy fog overhung the river and the 
water was of the colour and consistency of 
pea-soup, a combination of every adverse 
condition possible for sport. 

I proposed stopping at a choice pool on 
the way down stream, for, I said, I wished 
to take a few fish home. 

I was laughed at by the canoemen but, 
being more of a fisherman than an angler 
and having no prejudices, I insisted. 

When we reached the pool we found the 

water very high and running strong. I could 

hear the small stones rolling along the 

bottom of the pool, and the partly sub- 

[2201 




m 



OBSERVATIONS ON A SALMON RIVER 

merged branches of the bushes on the 
banks were dancing back and forth as the 
current swept by. 

The canoeman said: "There ain't no fish 
in this pool, don't you hear the stones a-roll- 
ing? I replied that they must be somewhere 
about the pool as I saw no salmon on the 
bank and that fish were not known to climb 
trees. 

The killig was dropped close to the bushes 
at the edge of the pool and, casting a well 
"doped" fly down stream, I rose, hooked, 
and landed three salmon of 12, 26 and 35 
pounds, the only fish taken on the river that 
day. 

The canoe could not be moved about 
owing to the rapid current and, as I was 
fishing with a light grilse rod, it was no easy 
matter to handle the two heavy fish. 

Later on I discovered the following in 

"The Northwest Coast," a book by James 

G. Swan published in 1857. Writing of 

salmon fishing in Shoal Water Bay, Wash- 

[221] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

ington Territory, he says: "When the fish 
were shy or the Indians unsuccessful they 
would rub their hooks with the root of wild 
celery which has a very aromatic smell and 
is believed by the Indians to be very grateful 
to the salmon and sure to attract them. I 
have also seen the Indians at Chenook rub 
the celery root into their nets for the same 
purpose though I have never tried its effects 
and have some doubts about its value." 



[222] 



XXI 
THE PACIFIC SALMON 



XXI 
THE PACIFIC SALMON 

THE salmon of the Pacific is a genius that 
is very close to the Atlantic salmon, differing 
chiefly in the increased number of anal rays 
and in the fact that they spawn but once 
and all die after spawning. 

When in the sea the salmon are supposed 
to dwell 20 to 40 miles off the mouth of their 
native river and return to spawn, being 
attracted by the cold river water. 

There are five species of salmon in the 
Pacific. 

The largest species is the Quinnat, 
chinook, tyee or king salmon (Oncorhynchus 
tschawytscha) which is found from Monte- 
rey Bay to northern Alaska and also in the 
Siberian rivers. This fish frequents large 
rivers and is taken in the Yukon at Dawson 
which is 1,500 miles from the sea. 
[225] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

They are said to attain a weight of over 
100 pounds. They will average 25 pounds, 
many fish weighing over 40 pounds. The 
largest I have seen weighed 72 pounds. 

It has never been explained why there 
is a heavy run of fish every fourth year. This 
heavy run occurs the year following leap 
year. For example in 1921 and again in 
1925. 

The fishermen claim that these fish re- 
main in the sea for four years, and those 
that weigh about 20 pounds have returned 
sooner and are called springfish. 

The very large fish, those over 50 pounds, 
may have remained away for more than four 
years or perhaps have been more fortunate 
in obtaining good food. 

The Blueback or Sockeye salmon (0. 
nerka) forms the greater part of the canned 
salmon of the world and is found from 
southern Oregon to Alaska. This fish also 
has a heavy quadrennial run. They enter 
the Columbia and Fraser rivers in great 

[226] 



THE PACIFIC SALMON 

numbers and journey over 1,000 miles from 
the sea. Their maximum weight is 15 
pounds. 

The Silver or Coho salmon (0. kisutcli) 
resembles the Atlantic salmon for it has a 
brilliant silvery skin. It is the gamest fish 
of the lot and usually weighs from 3 to 8 
pounds, although individuals have been 
taken that weighed over 20 pounds. They 
are found from Monterey Bay northward 
and also along the Asiatic coast, being com- 
mon in Japan. 

The Humpback salmon (0. gorbuscha) 
reaches a weight of from 3 to 6 pounds and 
is the smallest of the genus. It is in very 
great abundance in the rivers of Alaska. 
The run of this fish is heavier in the odd than 
in the even years. This fish, unlike the other 
species, will not take a spoon or lure of any 
kind. 

The Dog salmon (0. keta) is very abun- 
dant but the least valuable as a food fish. 
It is found from the Sacramento northward 
[227] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

and reaches a weight of 10 to 12 pounds. 

The Steelhead (Salmo gairdneri) al- 
though called a salmon by the fisherman is a 
trout. This is a very game fish that takes 
a fly. Its maximum weight is said to be 20 
pounds, although the usual run is from 2 to 
6 pounds. In California the taking of this 
species is restricted to hook and line fishing. 

The number of salmon in the Pacific is 
beyond all belief. Taking the year 1909 as 
an example we find the catch was very heavy 
owing to the quadrennial heavy run of sock- 
eye and chinook and the biennial run of 
humpback salmon. 

The total catch of California was 12,141,- 
937 pounds and of Alaska 175,934,000 
pounds. 

The total catch of the whole coast includ- 
ing British Columbia in 1909 is said to have 
been 365,336,482 pounds of salmon and 
steelhead trout, which returned the fisher- 
men $7,224,024, and in addition there were 
the millions of fish that died after spawning. 
[228] 



XXII 

SALMON FISHING AT CAMPBELL 
RIVER 



XXII 

SALMON FISHING AT CAMPBELL 
RIVER 

THE Campbell River rises among the snow- 
capped mountains in the interior of Van- 
couver Island, B. C., about 270 miles north 
of Victoria, and flows southeast into Dis- 
covery Strait. About four miles from its 
mouth it tumbles over high falls into a 
canon, and this is where the great "tyee" 
(chief) salmon go to spawn. Not only the 
tyee use these spawning-beds, but the hump- 
back and the beautiful coho salmon are also 
there in great numbers. 

I journeyed six days to see if the reports 
of the wonderful fishing at the mouth of 
the Campbell River were true, and found 
the sport far better than I had hoped. One 
reason for the extraordinary fishing that sea- 
son was the fact that the Government, by 
[231] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

heavy fines, had succeeded in driving away 
the Japanese poachers, who for several 
years openly defied the law, and poached 
the salmon with every known device from 
dynamite to illegal meshed nets. 

Discovery Strait is a stretch of salt water, 
an arm of the Pacific ocean, which separates 
Vancouver and Valdez Islands, and is about 
two and one-half miles wide. If it were not 
for the great current and strong tides that 
flow through the straits it would remind one 
of a Swiss lake, for you are surrounded by 
hills beautifully wooded with splendid fir- 
trees, and snow mountains show plainly in 
the distance. 

The best fishing is along the shore of 
Vancouver Island, a stretch of water one 
mile below and half a mile above the sand- 
bar at the mouth of the river. The current 
is so swift that it is almost impossible to 
fish except at the change of the tide or at 
half -tide. As the mode of fishing is trolling 
with a spoon, it is impossible to make enough 
[232] 



SALMON FISHING AT CAMPBELL RIVER 

headway when the tide is running strong, 
especially about the time of the full moon. 
The natives fish with hand-lines, with heavy 
lead and small silver or copper spoons, the 
lead being about twenty feet away from the 
spoon. It is most interesting to watch the 
Indians standing in dugout canoes handling 
the fish, gently playing it, and finally club- 
bing it on the head, when the fish, having 
fought its battle, has succumbed. It is said 
that these fish return to the river to spawn 
after having left it four years before, and 
that, after spawning, they all perish. This 
seems hard to believe hard to believe that 
a fish can grow to the size and acquire the 
strength that these fish do in so short a time; 
for I saw one giant, taken on a hand-line, 
that weighed seventy-two pounds at the 
cannery some hours after it was taken, 
and I killed a fish myself that weighed sixty 
pounds. 

These fish came from the north, and are 
found off Kitmat, some four hundred miles 
[233J 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

north of Campbell River early in May, but 
do not appear at the latter place before 
August 1. 

Most of the amateur fishermen who were 
enjoying the sport when I was there were 
sportsmen from England, on their way to 
Cassiar after big game, who had stopped en 
route in the hope of taking a fifty-pound 
salmon. They had every possible kind of 
rod and tackle, most of it better adapted to 
fly-fishing than to sea-fishing, for this is sea- 
fishing pure and simple. I fished with a 
light striped-bass rod, a Cuttyhunk line, and 
with three ounces of lead, seven feet from 
the spoon. The lead is necessary, owing 
to the strong current, and does not seem 
to bother the fish, for they are very quick 
and have great strength. If you give them 
the butt after their first grand rush, they will 
generally jump three feet into the air. If 
you fish with a fly-rod, they never show, 
and are apt to take all your line before you 
can stop them. The light-tackle fishermen 
[234] 




SALMON, TOTAL WEIGHT, 212 POUNDS 




TYEE SALMON, 60 POUNDS 

Length 47 inches, girth 32 inches 
Girth 3 X length 

800 ~ = 



SALMON FISHING AT CAMPBELL RIVER 

spend most of their time repairing outfits 
and buying new lines and spoons. 

The fish feed on small bright herring, 
which abound, and any bright spoon seems 
to attract them when feeding. The coho 
salmon, which run from five to ten pounds 
in weight, are at times very plentiful. The 
professional fishermen take as many as 
seventy in a day's fishing, and the cannery 
on Valdez Island pays ten cents apiece for 
the fish. For the tyee salmon they allow 
one cent a pound. I saw two coho salmon 
taken with a fly in the open sea, fish of 
about eight pounds in weight; but as the 
fish are moving you might cast all day with- 
out rising one. 

I took the following fish in fifteen days: 

August 1: 60 pounds, 48 pounds, 46 pounds. 

August 2: 49% pounds, 52% pounds, 15 pounds, 
50 pounds, 46 pounds. 

August 3: 40 pounds. 

August 4: 45 pounds, 45 pounds, 42 pounds, 42 
pounds, 40 pounds, 46 pounds, 47 pounds, 12 pounds. 

August 5: 45 pounds, 35 pounds, 30 pounds, 42 
pounds. 

[235] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

August 6: 42 pounds, 44 pounds, 35 pounds, 21 
pounds. 

August 7: 46 pounds, 4C% pounds, 41 pounds, 
17 pounds. 

August 8: 20 pounds, 44 pounds. 

August 9: 43 pounds, 38 pounds. 

August 11: 32 pounds, 46 pounds, 47 pounds, 
48 pounds. 

August 10: 29 pounds, 32 pounds, 35 pounds. 

August 12: 53 pounds, 41 pounds, 41 pounds, 
44% pounds, 33 pounds. 

August 13: 53 pounds. (High wind and rough 
water.) 

August 14: 

August 15: 51^ pounds, 40 pounds, 40 pounds, 
37 pounds, 36 pounds, 35 pounds, 34 pounds. 

Forty-seven tyee, average, 43 pounds; 5 spring fish, 
about 20 pounds each; 45 coho salmon. Total weight, 
2179 pounds. 



[236] 



XXIII 
THE KETCH KONA 



XXIII 
THE KETCH KONA 

THE ketch Kona was designed for me by 
Commodore R. M. Munroe for the purpose 
of tarpon fishing in the rivers of Cuba. 

She was built in Baltimore and is very 
strongly constructed of wood and is cop- 
pered. 

Kona is 56 feet 6 inches on the water- 
line and 17 feet beam, and has a centre- 
board and a Craig gasolene engine of 25 
horsepower. 

Her draft is but four feet, for, although 
the rivers of Cuba are deep, there is a bar 
at the mouth of almost every river on which 
there is generally not much more than four 
feet of water at high tide. 

The career of this little vessel is prob- 
ably unique for in eight years she has sailed 
38,917 sea miles. She has weathered the 
[239] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

dreaded Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, eight 
times and has passed Cape Sable, Florida, 
even more often. She has rounded the in- 
hospitable Cape San Antonio at the west 
end of Cuba fourteen times, and has made 
the voyage between New York and Key 
West eleven times. 

She has also been to Antilla at the eastern 
end of Cuba, as far south as the Isle of 
Pines, and as far north as the Bay of Islands, 
Newfoundland a record which I do not 
believe has ever been duplicated by a yacht 
of her size. 

In the summer of 1909 she sailed from 
Baltimore to Bar Harbor, from there to 
Halifax, and to Canso, through the Bras 
d'Or lakes to Sidney, Cape Breton Island, 
and returned to New York by the same route. 

In October of that year she sailed from 
New York for Key West, around the west 
end of Cuba to Batabano and the Isle of 
Pines. After cruising along the south coast 
of Cuba we returned to Key West. We were 
[240] 




, 





THE KETCH KONA 

close hauled in a strong wind and heavy 
sea from Justias Key to Key West for 26 
hours 180 miles. After cruising among 
the Keys she left for New York outside, 
sailing 1,063 miles from Miami to New York 
in 7 days, 18 hours, which is said to be a 
record. 

In October, 1911, she left for Key West 
and continued on to Cienfuegos, Cuba. We 
cruised inside the reef along the south coast 
and returned to New York. In July we 
sailed for Dark Harbor, Maine, and later 
made Halifax, Port-aux-Basques, and Bay 
of Islands, Newfoundland, back to Port- 
aux-Basques, across to Sydney, through the 
Bras d'Or lakes, and returned to New York. 

In 1912 she repeated her trip to Cien- 
fuegos, Cuba, and return. 

In 1913 she sailed for Cuba again, going 
as far as Cienfuegos, and returned to New 
York, and in July made a voyage as far 
east as Halifax, Nova Scotia, and back to 
New York. 

[241] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

In 1914 her trip was to the Isle of Pines, 
along the south coast of Cuba, and back 
to home waters. 

In 1915, she returned to Cienfuegos, and 
on her journey north met with her first 
mishap, for she parted her weather shrouds 
in a heavy sea, sprung her mainmast, and 
had to return to Miami for a refit and a 
fresh start. 

On the 9th of July at 9 P.M., when within 
sight of the lights of Bar Harbor, we were 
struck by a sudden storm "wind 70 miles 
an hour and heavy rain." We were driven 
out to sea, lost the jiggermast, and had to 
cut away the launch. We limped into Bar 
Harbor the following evening at five o'clock 
after a very bad night at sea. After refitting 
we cruised to Lockport, Nova Scotia, and 
back to New York. 

Kona sailed in November, 1916, for Key 

West and from there to Antilla, Cuba. We 

cruised along the north coast, stopping at 

Nuevitas and Matanzas. Sailing for Key 

[242] 




KONA FROiM ALOFT 



THE KETCH KONA 

West, we ran into a bad Norther and had 
to return to Cuba, but made Key West and 
Fort Myers, Florida, later on. 

In 1917 we had a six weeks' cruise along 
the south coast of Cuba and back to Fort 
Myers where the yacht was laid up on 
account of the war. 

During all these trips Kona was com- 
manded by Captain Thomas Dahlberg, a 
deepsea sailorman who has great confidence 
in the little craft. 

We were always on the hunt after fish 
and entered many rivers in Cuba looking 
for tarpon, with the result that we "jumped" 
and played 254 tarpon and took over 500 
other large game fish. 

SUMMARY 

Sea miles 

1909-1910 6120 

1910-1911 5071 

1911-1912 6718 

1912-1913 4559 

1913-1914 5925 

1914-1915 4442 

[243] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

1915-1916 4658 

1917 1424 

1918 760 

1919 . ,.1548 



40,225 
Miles 



[2441 



XXIV 
THE GULF STREAM 



XXIV 
THE GULF STREAM 

THE Gulf Stream has always seemed to 
me to be one of the greatest phenomena of 
nature as well as one of its greatest blessings. 

I have fished along its edge for many 
winters and it has never ceased to be of 
consuming mystery and interest. 

The beauty of its waters so easily dis- 
tinguishable from the surrounding sea, its 
incessant flow in the one direction, the 
curious plant and fish life that it brings 
from the tropics and the warmth and life- 
giving properties that it distributes so 
generously among the Keys of Florida 
always inspire me with wonder. 

Most people have vague and strange 

ideas as to the cause of this ever-moving 

stream. They do not seem to know that 

the Gulf Stream gets its initial impetus from 

[247] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

the joining of the north and south equatorial 
currents before rushing into the Gulf of 
Mexico through the Yucatan Channel. 

These currents, greatly accelerated by 
the trade winds, sweep across the Atlantic 
Ocean from east to west. 

The Northern Current comes from the 
coast of Spain and crosses the ocean in about 
15 degrees north latitude, passing through 
the Windward Islands north of Martinique. 

The South Equatorial Current comes from 
Africa and flows westward just south of the 
equator until it reaches the coast of Brazil. 
Here it divides, one part going south to the 
River Plate, the other traveling northward, 
picking up the warm waters that flow from 
the Amazon and the Orinoco and turning 
westward just north of the Island of Trinidad 
where it joins forces with the Northern 
Equatorial current for the grand rush 
through the Yucatan Channel. Here it 
attains a velocity of from 1 to 3 knots. 

The Yucatan Channel which divides Cuba 
[248] 



THE GULF STREAM 

from Yucatan, Mexico, is about one hun- 
dred miles wide and has a depth of 1,200 
fathoms. 

The first obstacle the stream encounters 
is the so-called Sigsbee Deep in the middle 
of the Gulf of Mexico. Here the water is 
2,000 fathoms deep and being dense and 
cold it turns the current toward the Mexi- 
can coast. When it encounters the 100 
fathom curve of the shore line, it circles first 
northward and then eastward toward the 
Straits of Florida. 

The Straits of Florida are but little over 
ninety miles wide and have a depth of but 
350 fathoms. Here the congestion of the 
waters forces the stream along at an in- 
creasing pace, carrying with it great quan- 
tities of gulf -weed brought from the islands 
of the Caribbean. 

The maximum speed of the Gulf Stream 
is nearly 4 knots. 

Turning northward it receives a fresh 
impetus by plunging into deep water over 
[249] 



SOME FISH AND SOME FISHING 

the natural dam of Fowey Rocks at the 
northern end of the Florida Reef. 

There is a counter-current in shore which 
causes much silting and the shifting of the 
beaches along the gulf coast and also along 
the east coast of Florida. 

Off Cape Carnaveral the stream is forty 
miles off shore and thirty miles wide. The 
Gulf Stream follows the 100 fathom contour 
line of the coast until it reaches Cape 
Hatteras, where meeting the so-called Cold 
Wall or Labrador Current it turns almost 
due east. 

As it passes New York it is about one 
hundred and twenty miles off shore, more 
or less according to the prevalence of 
westerly or easterly gales. 

The Gulf Stream retains its identity until 
it reaches a point two hundred miles south- 
southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, 
where it divides into two currents. 

The Northeast Current or Drift flows 
toward the British Isles. The other half, 
[250] 



THE GULF STREAM 

the East Current, travels to the Bay of 
Biscay where it turns northward and, known 
as the Runnell Current, tempers the waters 
of the Channel Islands off the Coast of 
France. 



THE END 



[251] 




UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 
BERKELEY 

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